Blessing a Pregnancy with the Host at Communion

I’m at a loss… I’ve searched high and low and I don’t know where to find the answer. It seems obvious to me, but I’d like either more opinions or just even resources to point me in the absolute right direction.

I am pregnant with #5 and we have a charismatic woman in our parish that LOVES to bless pregnancies. She does a “pinning” ceremony for each newly pregnant mom during our women’s groups where she blesses the mom, the baby and then “pins” the mom with a baby feet pin.

I didn’t tell her of my pregnancy because I’m not one of those people that like to be publicly called out in my early pregnancies. When she learned of it, she gently chastised me for not telling her.

This past Sunday, she was serving as EMHC and I ended being the next person in line to go to her. When I received, she said my name, presented Communion and I received. After Mass, she said “Oh geez! I’m so sorry! I totally forgot you’re expecting! I should have blessed your belly with the Host before you received.”

I immediately recoiled, sheepishly smiled and kind of gave a “heh heh” sound and said “Oh it’s ok.” and walked off. Now I’m utterly afraid she’ll do this next time she’s up there and I end up receiving from her.

I could make a huge deal and just not go to her, but I honestly think the idea of blessing a woman’s belly with a consecrated Host is sacrilegious. Almost using it like a talisman. Like I said, I don’t like being on public display and I’m so terrified of anyone seeing this woman making a huge sign of the cross over my belly with a consecrated Host before allowing me to receive. Not to mention I’m afraid she’ll drop the Host.

I don’t want to be downright rude to her but keeping the sanctity of the Eucharist in mind… is she right in doing this, do you think it’s a harmless act or am I being justified in not wanting her to do it. If I’m being justified, how can I go about telling her?

Thanks so much for any help!

There are several reasons for why what she is doing is wrong. She shouldn’t be pretending to “give blessings” since she’s not a deacon, priest or bishop. She certainly should not be doing it during Mass. When she is distributing Communion she has a responsibility to do so according to the norms of the Church. She should not be saying or doing anything other than to say precisely the words “The Body/Blood of Christ” and actually distributing Communion. Anything else is an abuse. Distributing Communion is not the time for individuals to be calling-attention to themselves.

There is also the very real issue that no one should be made to feel uncomfortable when properly receiving Communion. She has no business doing this.

You can try speaking to her about it. You can try bringing-up your concerns with the pastor. It is his responsibility to see to it that only those people who are going to follow the rites of the Church are suitable to be appointed temporary Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. You might say to her something like “I would appreciate if you would distribute Communion the way the Church expects you to do it” That’s your right, and the right of every Catholic.

Thank you! I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to write a response. :slight_smile: I will talk to her about it before she gets a chance to try to bless my belly.

If you want a real blessing (and I do recommend it) there is a new rite for blessing a child in the womb. You could ask a priest or deacon to perform this blessing at an appropriate time. Unfortunately, I can’t locate it on the web. I recall hearing about it, but don’t have the source. It is not in the “Book of Blessings” because it’s something new, which was approved after the book was published. The BofB has a blessing of parents, but not one for the unborn child.

Good luck talking to her. In my own experience, people who take it upon themselves to do this sort of thing tend to be “set in their ways.” I hope that won’t be the case with her.

Father , I’m not sure it has received Vatican approval for public use yet.

catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=14305

We have used this blessing already. In fact, this sunday we have our semi annual blessing of expectant parents and we will be using it again.

Granted that it does not yet have Vatican approval, simple blessing prayers usually don’t require approval at the highest level. A priest can compose his own prayer of blessing (this is done all the time if the proper books aren’t at hand). I’ll qualify that by saying that outside the Mass it may be done based on the approval of the USCCB. To occur within the Mass would require Vatican approval.

Thanks for the link. The date on the article is Nov. 2008. I was under the impression that the Holy See had granted approval since then, but I am not certain about that. It could explain why I couldn’t find the text anywhere. In any case, in my opinion at least, I think a mother could certainly request a priest/deacon to do this blessing outside of Mass.

When my daughter was pregnant with her first, our priest laid his hands on her very pregnant abdomen and blessed her and the baby (she asked for a blessing). It turned out she needed that blessing very much, as she became a high-risk pregnancy and the baby was born over 5 weeks prematurely, but was born healthy and did not need the NICU as had been anticipated. Praise God.

But what that EMHC does is totally out of line.

A real stupid question. If this woman is not the only one distributing Holy Communion why receive from her knowing what she is planning on doing?. It has been my experience that there are usually multiple Extraordinary Ministers stationed in different parts of the Church. Just go to another area. I doubt that she will chase you down:thumbsup::

This might help when talking to the EMHC in question:

  1. The liturgical blessing of the Holy Mass is properly given to each and to all at the conclusion of the Mass, just a few moments subsequent to the distribution of Holy Communion.
  1. Lay people, within the context of Holy Mass, are unable to confer blessings. These blessings, rather, are the competence of the priest (cf. Ecclesia de Mysterio, Notitiae 34 (15 Aug. 1997), art. 6, § 2; Canon 1169, § 2; and Roman Ritual De Benedictionibus (1985), n. 18).
  1. Furthermore, the laying on of a hand or hands — which has its own sacramental significance, inappropriate here — by those distributing Holy Communion, in substitution for its reception, is to be explicitly discouraged.
  1. The Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio n. 84, “forbids any pastor, for whatever reason to pretext even of a pastoral nature, to perform ceremonies of any kind for divorced people who remarry”. To be feared is that any form of blessing in substitution for communion would give the impression that the divorced and remarried have been returned, in some sense, to the status of Catholics in good standing.
  1. In a similar way, for others who are not to be admitted to Holy Communion in accord with the norm of law, the Church’s discipline has already made clear that they should not approach Holy Communion nor receive a blessing. This would include non-Catholics and those envisaged in can. 915 (i.e., those under the penalty of excommunication or interdict, and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin).

I hope this helps you.

If I were you, I would avoid confronting that EMHC about it. Even just telling her gently that you are in any way “uncomfortable” sets her up in the position of having to defend her actions.

She truly is intending the best for you. She truly considers that it is her responsibility to do what she did.

She truly has no responsibility… nor right… to do what she did.

You might feel like you have the responsiblity… the calling… to perform an Act of Mercy for her… by Instructing The Ignorant.

Yet… my first step would NOT to mention it to her… at all.

I would, instead, first seek out a few minutes with my pastor after all the parishoners who have approached Father after Mass to say “hello” and shake his hand. You want to be the very last in line so that he has a couple of brief moments to focus on you… with nobody else in earshot.

Tell him that you need to inform him of something that happened… and that you consider that it should not have happened. That you are concerned for that EMHC… as well as for you. Ask his advice for what HE recommends that you do because of this situation. Be kind and charitable… but…name names.

Tell your pastor that you do not want to instigate an issue. You wish to avoid it happening… again.

Father, I’m confused by one part of your answer.

You say that you… an individual priest… must have approval of the USCCB.

Er… isn’t your own bishop the only one who would have to make that approval? if not… the next step would be the Holy See… and not the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops?

Thanks for considering my question.

And may God continue to bless you. :signofcross:
and Mary keep you. :signofcross:

The problem is that this is no longer a what does “he” recommend. Rather, it is what the Church says we cannot do, which is what I posted in my previous response.; It is not so much being confrontational, but, we must do what the Church says and the Church says that these “blessings” by the laity are not to happen, especially in the manner that the EMHC is conducting them. Yes, be kind and charitable, but what the OP described is a serious abuse.

You could go to Adoration and tell the misguided but well intentioned EMHC that, “Thanks, but we’ve already been to Benediction.”

Maybe another tack would be to ask if she would “bless” your belly outside of mass, but you indicated that that’s not your cup of tea.

How long, if I may ask, until the baby is born i.e. how long do you have to “avoid” her? :wink:

I guess if it were me, and that would be miraculous since I’m a guy, I’d tell the pastor that I was uncomfortable with such a practice and I would also find a way to get in a different line at communion.

I’m also guessing that this person might want to “bless” your newborn baby when that time comes?

In any case, I hope this situation works out and ask the Almighty for blessings on you, your baby and your family. :thumbsup:

Well, I didn’t say that a priest “must” have the approval of the USCCB. I said that the ritual has been approved.

A priest can compose his own words for blessing a person, outside of Mass. This happens all the time. That doesn’t mean he can say anything at all, but that there is no required formula for such blessings. The Church provides texts to be used, but unless it’s part of the formal liturgy of the Church (blessing a tower bell or blessing a chalice to give a few examples), these texts can be altered or outright composed by the individual cleric.

The point behind this particular blessing is that a text has been provided for use. That means that we can trust that the words are appropriate. It also means that a priest would not be in a difficult position of having to compose appropriate words with little to no time to prepare them. That’s why I suggested that the OP approach her priest with the text in hand. The priest (or deacon) won’t think to himself “this is a great thing, but what do I say?”

Since only those blessings which the Holy See has specifically allowed to be done during Mass can be done during Mass, we will have to wait for Vatican permission before doing so. That’s the only point in waiting for Vatican approval. It’s not a matter of questioning the words.

Hi,

…and God bless you and your family.

I would definitely avoid this woman at Communion time, but also tell the Pastor your feelings about this woman. He may not feel this is wrong, but even if this is true, no one should be allowed to abuse a ministry as this woman does, and no one should be subjected to her “personal ministry”. The Church does not allow for lay people to create their own services, especially during Mass, which has very definite instructions (which do not include using a Host as a “prop” for a self appointed minister.)

I would also tell her, that this type of blessig is an abuse of the Body of Christ, and you do not want it. Thank her for her prayers, but stress that you do not want this type of attention.

Lux

Exactly.

I wasn’t quite clear in what I wrote.

I meant that by telling your priest of the situation… and then asking what YOU should do…

that your priest would say that he is glad that you told him… and that HE would go ahead and talk to that EMHC to inform her that she is not to do what she did. I’m supposing that your priest wants you out of that possible situation in the future… and does NOT want you to talk to HER about this. That would just continue this whole thing beyond where it already is. He knows it’s up to HIM… and him alone… to put a stop to it. And he knows that.

He’s also the only one who can officially tell her why she literally cannot do any blessings either – and that’s because she is not an ordained priest or deacon, herself. It’s just **literally **not possible for her to “bless.” He can tell her, also, that if she wants to… OF COURSE she pray for you and your baby. But do that on her own time, as it were. That if YOU want her to pray for you and your baby, that YOU must be the one to approach her to ask her to just pray.

This will let the EMHC off the hook… because, after all, her priest said that she is not to do what she did… ever.

After all… perhaps she was doing it because she thought that she HAD to do it.

And she knows that you know that, too. And since this is not to ever be done, from now on forward it will not be an awkward moment if for some happenstance you are in the line where she is serving as EMHC at that Mass… and she doesn’t “bless” you or touch your body in any way other than if your fingers touch her open palm as you pick up Jesus (in the Holy Eucharist).

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