Blessings at mass


#1

I'm not a baptized Catholic but I always like to get a blessing during communion. In my parish we have about 12 or 13 EMHC's and normally i'm never sure which line the priest will minister to. I'm not sure if i can or should receive a blessing from an EMHC, so just to be safe, i don't. It just seems like choosing my aisle seems to be a bit of a gamble. I know the whole congregation gets a blessing during the dismissal but an individual blessing can't hurt.
So would you receive a blessing from an EMHC?


#2

Hi
My children have not yet had their first communion and so do not have to come up with me but my son, who is twelve, loves to come and have a blessing - he says it makes his week better and he doesn't feel so good if he misses out :) But we are lucky enough to mostly have a priest and deacon offering the host and the EMHCs only offer the wine so it doesn't matter which side of the church we sit. Unfortunately our deacon has been helping out in another parish for a couple of weeks and invariably the priest serves the other 'queue' and we get the EMHC. At that point I tell my son 'don't bother to come up because they are not ordained and can give no better blessing than me'. No disrespect to EMHC's (it would be an honour to do it obviously) but I don't see that their blessing would be any different to any other lay person.

So I understand your hesitation at 'queue swapping' when you see whose where - and I tell my son no one would mind if he 'popped in' to the other queue, so to speak, and I know there is an 'overall' blessing (and in fact I have been at some churches where the priest wouldn't bless people individually anyway!) but I know how my son glows when he comes back from his blessing so if that's the way you feel you should definately keep going up for one! :thumbsup:


#3

[quote="Daniel_Jiaen, post:1, topic:294273"]
I'm not a baptized Catholic but I always like to get a blessing during communion. In my parish we have about 12 or 13 EMHC's and normally i'm never sure which line the priest will minister to. I'm not sure if i can or should receive a blessing from an EMHC, so just to be safe, i don't. It just seems like choosing my aisle seems to be a bit of a gamble. I know the whole congregation gets a blessing during the dismissal but an individual blessing can't hurt.
So would you receive a blessing from an EMHC?

[/quote]

You can't receive a blessing from an EMHC, it has to be a priest.


#4

Hi Daniel, if you're of sincere heart just sit tight and read the prayer for 'making a spiritual communion'. Also take full advantage of using Holy water entering/leaving church and perhaps the Holy Spirit will look kindly on you for respecting Church customs and bless you. :thumbsup:


#5

Quite simply, no one should go in the Communion line for a blessing. The Communion line is for people receiving Holy Communion and nothing else. Of course, sometimes parents must take small children and/or babies when they go up for Communion, but that should not be for them to get a blessing, but just because they are too small to leave alone in the pew.

Everyone in the church gets blessed by the priest at the final blessing. That is, and should be, sufficient for all.


#6

As noted by other posters, it is, in my opinion, inappropriate to go up for a blessing at this point during the liturgy. There is a sticky on this board (Liturgy and the Sacraments) where a poster has posted a letter he received from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments - Rome’s highest authority on liturgical matters…while this practice has become extremely wide spread in North America, it is not encouraged by Rome. Receiving a blessing during the distribution of holy communion has several problematic ramifications (outlined in the above referenced letter)…and more importantly is unnecessary: everyone receives a blessing from the priest at the end of mass :). In fact, a good friend of mine, who happens to be a very holy priest, noted that the final blessing was originally inserted into the liturgy for this very purpose - to ensure that those who were unable to receive the Lord in Holy Communion still received the blessing of his minister. If you trust the authority Christ has given to His priests, as I see you do, then you will be able to find comfort in the final blessing, which is given withe full sanction and authority of God’s Holy Church.

And you are right…it never hurts to get an “extra” blessing - so why not ask the priest to bless you after mass?

In regards to EMHC - the laity do not have authority to bless in this context. In order to confer a blessing, one must have authority over those being blessed. The EMHC has no authority over you. Any lay person can, of course, intercede/pray for you :). (When we say “God bless you”, that is what we are doing - we are asking God to bless the individual…the priest, on the other hand, can bless us by his own God given authority).


#7

[quote="Joan_M, post:5, topic:294273"]
Quite simply, no one should go in the Communion line for a blessing. The Communion line is for people receiving Holy Communion and nothing else. Of course, sometimes parents must take small children and/or babies when they go up for Communion, but that should not be for them to get a blessing, but just because they are too small to leave alone in the pew.

Everyone in the church gets blessed by the priest at the final blessing. That is, and should be, sufficient for all.

[/quote]

This. Also, this, from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.


#8

[quote="Carolus_Martell, post:4, topic:294273"]
Hi Daniel, if you're of sincere heart just sit tight and read the prayer for 'making a spiritual communion'. Also take full advantage of using Holy water entering/leaving church and perhaps the Holy Spirit will look kindly on you for respecting Church customs and bless you. :thumbsup:

[/quote]

Isn't the holy water there for a reminder of baptism? I'm not baptized so i'm not sure if i should be reminded of a baptism I never had. ;)


#9

[quote="albertus_magnus, post:3, topic:294273"]
You can't receive a blessing from an EMHC, it has to be a priest.

[/quote]

A deacon can also bless.

Parents can always bless their children.

-Tim-


#10

On the controversy about communion line blessings in America, here in New Zealand it is an even more widespread practice. During Easter vigil and Midnight mass, the Bishop will recommend a communion line blessing for those not partaking. :o


#11

Similarly, in England and Wales blessings are postively encouraged at weekly mass. Contrary to what some have said the jurisdiction to decide whether blessings are permitted during communion lies with local Bishops. The CDW thread that it often quoted was given in relation to EMHC, was given in a private letter and therefore has no authority. Rome is expected to report shortly that this practice may continue where Bishops permit it, but to emphasise that blessings can only be given by Priests.


#12

[quote="liturgyluver, post:11, topic:294273"]
…was given in a private letter and therefore has no authority.

[/quote]

Well, their 2nd, 3rd, and 5th observations in the letter restate what's said in 5 documents. Here are the referenced quotes (emphases mine):

Ecclesia de Mysterio 6 §2
To promote the proper identity (of various roles) in this area, those abuses which are contrary to the provisions of canon 907 are to be eradicated. In eucharistic celebrations deacons and non-ordained members of the faithful may not pronounce prayers—e.g. especially the eucharistic prayer, with its concluding doxology—or any other parts of the liturgy reserved to the celebrant priest. Neither may deacons or non-ordained members of the faithful use gestures or actions which are proper to the same priest celebrant. It is a grave abuse for any member of the non-ordained faithful to "quasi preside" at the Mass while leaving only that minimal participation to the priest which is necessary to secure validity.

…]

Every effort must be made to avoid even the appearance of confusion which can spring from anomalous liturgical practices. As the sacred ministers are obliged to wear all of the prescribed liturgical vestments so too the non-ordained faithful may not assume that which is not proper to them.

To avoid any confusion between sacramental liturgical acts presided over by a priest or deacon, and other acts which the non-ordained faithful may lead, it is always necessary to use clearly distinct ceremonials, especially for the latter.

Codex Iuris Canonici 1169, §2:
Any priest can impart blessings, except for those reserved to the Roman Pontiff or to Bishops.
[INDENT]Benedictiones, exceptis iis quæ Romano Pontifici aut Episcopis reservantur, impertire potest quilibet presbyter.[/INDENT]

Familiaris Consortio 84:
Daily experience unfortunately shows that people who have obtained a divorce usually intend to enter into a new union, obviously not with a Catholic religious ceremony. Since this is an evil that, like the others, is affecting more and more Catholics as well, the problem must be faced with resolution and without delay. The Synod Fathers studied it expressly. The Church, which was set up to lead to salvation all people and especially the baptized, cannot abandon to their own devices those who have been previously bound by sacramental marriage and who have attempted a second marriage. The Church will therefore make untiring efforts to put at their disposal her means of salvation.

…]

However, the Church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon Sacred Scripture, of not admitting to Eucharistic Communion divorced persons who have remarried. They are unable to be admitted thereto from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist. Besides this, there is another special pastoral reason: if these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church's teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.

Reconciliation in the sacrament of Penance which would open the way to the Eucharist, can only be granted to those who, repenting of having broken the sign of the Covenant and of fidelity to Christ, are sincerely ready to undertake a way of life that is no longer in contradiction to the indissolubility of marriage. This means, in practice, that when, for serious reasons, such as for example the children's upbringing, a man and a woman cannot satisfy the obligation to separate, they "take on themselves the duty to live in complete continence, that is, by abstinence from the acts proper to married couples."

Similarly, the respect due to the sacrament of Matrimony, to the couples themselves and their families, and also to the community of the faithful, forbids any pastor, for whatever reason or pretext even of a pastoral nature, to perform ceremonies of any kind for divorced people who remarry. Such ceremonies would give the impression of the celebration of a new sacramentally valid marriage, and would thus lead people into error concerning the indissolubility of a validly contracted marriage.

By acting in this way, the Church professes her own fidelity to Christ and to His truth. At the same time she shows motherly concern for these children of hers, especially those who, through no fault of their own, have been abandoned by their legitimate partner.

With firm confidence she believes that those who have rejected the Lord's command and are still living in this state will be able to obtain from God the grace of conversion and salvation, provided that they have persevered in prayer, penance and charity.
[INDENT]Cotidianum rerum experimentum pro dolor docet eum qui divortium fecerit, plerumque animo intendere novam transire ad convivendi societatem, sine ritu religioso catholicorum, ut patet. Cum de malo agatur, quod, sicut et alia, latius usque inficiat etiam greges catholicos, haec difficultas est cum cura et sine ulla mora omnino aggredienda. Synodi Patres eam data opera investigaverunt. Nam Ecclesia, idcirco instituta ut ad salutem omnes homines imprimisque baptizatos perduceret, non potest sibimet ipsis illos derelinquere, qui — iam sacramentali vinculo matrimonii coniuncti — transire conati sunt ad nuptias novas. Nitetur propterea neque umquam defessa curabit Ecclesia ut iis praesto sint salutis instrumenta.

…]

Nihilominus Ecclesia inculcat consuetudinem suam, in Sacris ipsis Litteris innixam, non admittendi ad eucharisticam communion em fideles, qui post divortium factum novas nuptias inierunt. Ipsi namque impediunt ne admittantur, cum status eorum et condicio vitae obiective dissideant ab illa amoris coniunctione inter Christum et Ecclesiam, quae Eucharistia significatur atque peragitur. Restat praeterea alia peculiaris ratio pastoralis: si homines illi ad Eucharistiam admitterentur, in errorem turbationemque inducerentur tideles de Ecclesiae doctrina super indissolubilitate matrimonii.

Porro reconciliatio in sacramento pænitentiæ—quae ad Eucharistiae sacramentum aperit viam—illis unis concedi potest, qui dolentes quod signum violaverint Foederis et fidelitatis Christi, sincere parati sunt vitae formam iam non amplius adversam matrimonii indissolubitati suscipere. Hoc poscit rever a ut, quoties vir ac mulier gravibus de causis—verbi gratia, ob liberorum educationem—non valeant necessitati separationis satisfacere, « officium in se suscipiant omnino continenter vivendi, scilicet se abstinendi ab aetibus, qui solis coniugibus competunt ».

Observantia similiter erga matrimonii sacramentum, tum etiam erga coniuges eorumque familiares necnon erg a ipsam fidelium communitatem, vetat quemlibet pastorem ullam propter causam vel praetextum etiam pastoralem ne pro divortio digressis, qui novas nuptias inierunt, ritus cuiusvis generis faciant; hi enim ostenderent novas nuptias sacramentales validas celebrari ac proinde errorem inicerent de indissolubilitate prioris matrimonii valide contracti.

Hoc quidem pacto agens, Ecclesia profitetur fidelitatem suam in Christum eiusque veritatem; simul vero materno affectu se gerit erga hos filios suos, potissimum eos qui nulla propria intercedente culpa a proprio derelicti sunt legitimo coniuge.

Firma insuper cum fiducia Ecclesia credit quotquot a mandato Domini recesserint in eoque etiamnunc statu vivant, a Deo gratiam conversionis ac salutis assequi posse, si in precatione, paenitentia, caritate perseveraverint.[/INDENT]

Codex Iuris Canonici 915:
Those upon whom the penalty of excommunication or interdict has been imposed or declared, and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to holy communion.
[INDENT]Ad sacram communionem ne admittantur excommunicati et interdicti post irrogationem vel declarationem poenae aliique in manifesto gravi peccato obstinate perseverantes.[/INDENT]

De Benedictionibus isn't available on the Internet.


#13

[quote="TimothyH, post:9, topic:294273"]
A deacon can also bless.

[/quote]

In the context of Mass? More specifically, during the distribution of communion?

How do you come to this conclusion?


#14

[quote="JGMendes4049, post:12, topic:294273"]
Well, their 2nd, 3rd, and 5th observations in the letter restate what's said in 5 documents. Here are the referenced quotes (emphases mine):

Ecclesia de Mysterio 6 §2
To promote the proper identity (of various roles) in this area, those abuses which are contrary to the provisions of canon 907 are to be eradicated. In eucharistic celebrations deacons and non-ordained members of the faithful may not pronounce prayers—e.g. especially the eucharistic prayer, with its concluding doxology—or any other parts of the liturgy reserved to the celebrant priest. Neither may deacons or non-ordained members of the faithful use gestures or actions which are proper to the same priest celebrant. It is a grave abuse for any member of the non-ordained faithful to "quasi preside" at the Mass while leaving only that minimal participation to the priest which is necessary to secure validity.

…]

Every effort must be made to avoid even the appearance of confusion which can spring from anomalous liturgical practices. As the sacred ministers are obliged to wear all of the prescribed liturgical vestments so too the non-ordained faithful may not assume that which is not proper to them.

To avoid any confusion between sacramental liturgical acts presided over by a priest or deacon, and other acts which the non-ordained faithful may lead, it is always necessary to use clearly distinct ceremonials, especially for the latter.

Codex Iuris Canonici 1169, §2:
Any priest can impart blessings, except for those reserved to the Roman Pontiff or to Bishops.
[INDENT]Benedictiones, exceptis iis quæ Romano Pontifici aut Episcopis reservantur, impertire potest quilibet presbyter.[/INDENT]

Familiaris Consortio 84:
Daily experience unfortunately shows that people who have obtained a divorce usually intend to enter into a new union, obviously not with a Catholic religious ceremony. Since this is an evil that, like the others, is affecting more and more Catholics as well, the problem must be faced with resolution and without delay. The Synod Fathers studied it expressly. The Church, which was set up to lead to salvation all people and especially the baptized, cannot abandon to their own devices those who have been previously bound by sacramental marriage and who have attempted a second marriage. The Church will therefore make untiring efforts to put at their disposal her means of salvation.

…]

However, the Church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon Sacred Scripture, of not admitting to Eucharistic Communion divorced persons who have remarried. They are unable to be admitted thereto from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist. Besides this, there is another special pastoral reason: if these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church's teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.

Reconciliation in the sacrament of Penance which would open the way to the Eucharist, can only be granted to those who, repenting of having broken the sign of the Covenant and of fidelity to Christ, are sincerely ready to undertake a way of life that is no longer in contradiction to the indissolubility of marriage. This means, in practice, that when, for serious reasons, such as for example the children's upbringing, a man and a woman cannot satisfy the obligation to separate, they "take on themselves the duty to live in complete continence, that is, by abstinence from the acts proper to married couples."

Similarly, the respect due to the sacrament of Matrimony, to the couples themselves and their families, and also to the community of the faithful, forbids any pastor, for whatever reason or pretext even of a pastoral nature, to perform ceremonies of any kind for divorced people who remarry. Such ceremonies would give the impression of the celebration of a new sacramentally valid marriage, and would thus lead people into error concerning the indissolubility of a validly contracted marriage.

By acting in this way, the Church professes her own fidelity to Christ and to His truth. At the same time she shows motherly concern for these children of hers, especially those who, through no fault of their own, have been abandoned by their legitimate partner.

With firm confidence she believes that those who have rejected the Lord's command and are still living in this state will be able to obtain from God the grace of conversion and salvation, provided that they have persevered in prayer, penance and charity.
[INDENT]Cotidianum rerum experimentum pro dolor docet eum qui divortium fecerit, plerumque animo intendere novam transire ad convivendi societatem, sine ritu religioso catholicorum, ut patet. Cum de malo agatur, quod, sicut et alia, latius usque inficiat etiam greges catholicos, haec difficultas est cum cura et sine ulla mora omnino aggredienda. Synodi Patres eam data opera investigaverunt. Nam Ecclesia, idcirco instituta ut ad salutem omnes homines imprimisque baptizatos perduceret, non potest sibimet ipsis illos derelinquere, qui — iam sacramentali vinculo matrimonii coniuncti — transire conati sunt ad nuptias novas. Nitetur propterea neque umquam defessa curabit Ecclesia ut iis praesto sint salutis instrumenta.

…]

Nihilominus Ecclesia inculcat consuetudinem suam, in Sacris ipsis Litteris innixam, non admittendi ad eucharisticam communion em fideles, qui post divortium factum novas nuptias inierunt. Ipsi namque impediunt ne admittantur, cum status eorum et condicio vitae obiective dissideant ab illa amoris coniunctione inter Christum et Ecclesiam, quae Eucharistia significatur atque peragitur. Restat praeterea alia peculiaris ratio pastoralis: si homines illi ad Eucharistiam admitterentur, in errorem turbationemque inducerentur tideles de Ecclesiae doctrina super indissolubilitate matrimonii.

Porro reconciliatio in sacramento pænitentiæ—quae ad Eucharistiae sacramentum aperit viam—illis unis concedi potest, qui dolentes quod signum violaverint Foederis et fidelitatis Christi, sincere parati sunt vitae formam iam non amplius adversam matrimonii indissolubitati suscipere. Hoc poscit rever a ut, quoties vir ac mulier gravibus de causis—verbi gratia, ob liberorum educationem—non valeant necessitati separationis satisfacere, « officium in se suscipiant omnino continenter vivendi, scilicet se abstinendi ab aetibus, qui solis coniugibus competunt ».

Observantia similiter erga matrimonii sacramentum, tum etiam erga coniuges eorumque familiares necnon erg a ipsam fidelium communitatem, vetat quemlibet pastorem ullam propter causam vel praetextum etiam pastoralem ne pro divortio digressis, qui novas nuptias inierunt, ritus cuiusvis generis faciant; hi enim ostenderent novas nuptias sacramentales validas celebrari ac proinde errorem inicerent de indissolubilitate prioris matrimonii valide contracti.

Hoc quidem pacto agens, Ecclesia profitetur fidelitatem suam in Christum eiusque veritatem; simul vero materno affectu se gerit erga hos filios suos, potissimum eos qui nulla propria intercedente culpa a proprio derelicti sunt legitimo coniuge.

Firma insuper cum fiducia Ecclesia credit quotquot a mandato Domini recesserint in eoque etiamnunc statu vivant, a Deo gratiam conversionis ac salutis assequi posse, si in precatione, paenitentia, caritate perseveraverint.[/INDENT]

Codex Iuris Canonici 915:
Those upon whom the penalty of excommunication or interdict has been imposed or declared, and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to holy communion.
[INDENT]Ad sacram communionem ne admittantur excommunicati et interdicti post irrogationem vel declarationem poenae aliique in manifesto gravi peccato obstinate perseverantes.[/INDENT]

De Benedictionibus isn't available on the Internet.

[/quote]

Thank you - it's very helpful that you posted these links and references as it makes crystal clear what is forbidden and the context in which the letter from CDW was written..


#15

[quote="Daniel_Jiaen, post:8, topic:294273"]
Isn't the holy water there for a reminder of baptism? I'm not baptized so i'm not sure if i should be reminded of a baptism I never had. ;)

[/quote]

You're an ex-pentecostal, but never baptized? Or were you baptized according to some non-Trinitarian formula?

But anyway, it doesn't matter: while the holy water is there as a reminder of baptism, that is not its only function. It also serves a motivator or precursor to baptism.


#16

Perhaps an exception, for those who can't receive communion but wish an individual blessing during Mass, can apply to parishes with well established RCIA programs.

I've heard through reliable sources (okay, I am the reliable source), that RCIA candidates have found it easier to eventually swim the Tiber, by being permitted to indirectly participate in the communion lines.

RCIA candidates can be informed on how to signal the Deacon or priest, with their arms crossed upon their chest. This gesture clarifies the candidate can't receive communion, and implies that the candidate is in communion line to receive a blessing (but only from the Deacon or priest).

Deacons and priests at parishes with RCIA programs, become familiarized with the pending members of the parish, by blessing soon-to-be Catholics. The parishioners witness the RCIA candidates, as people who are working on becoming Catholics. The RCIA candidates, after getting over their nervousness from entering the communion line for the first time in their lives, receive the benefit of being part of the parish community.

After all, some candidates may require two or perhaps three years, before they can conclude their RCIA program. It is an act of public charity, for the parish to allow RCIA candidates to join the community in the communion line, albeit for receiving a blessing only.


#17

[quote="Radmanna, post:16, topic:294273"]
Perhaps an exception, for those who can't receive communion but wish an individual blessing during Mass, can apply to parishes with well established RCIA programs.

I've heard through reliable sources (okay, I am the reliable source), that RCIA candidates have found it easier to eventually swim the Tiber, by being permitted to indirectly participate in the communion lines.

RCIA candidates can be informed on how to signal the Deacon or priest, with their arms crossed upon their chest. This gesture clarifies the candidate can't receive communion, and implies that the candidate is in communion line to receive a blessing (but only from the Deacon or priest).

Deacons and priests at parishes with RCIA programs, become familiarized with the pending members of the parish, by blessing soon-to-be Catholics. The parishioners witness the RCIA candidates, as people who are working on becoming Catholics. The RCIA candidates, after getting over their nervousness from entering the communion line for the first time in their lives, receive the benefit of being part of the parish community.

After all, some candidates may require two or perhaps three years, before they can conclude their RCIA program. It is an act of public charity, for the parish to allow RCIA candidates to join the community in the communion line, albeit for receiving a blessing only.

[/quote]

I'm sorry but that's the same line of thinking that says that every kid at a birthday party has to get a prize even if they didn't win any of the games lest their poor little egos be crushed.

The Communion procession is for Communion. As someone else has put it, we go to Communion to receive Someone, not something. Those in RCIA should be taught to stay in the pew and make a spiritual Communion.


#18

[quote="Phemie, post:17, topic:294273"]
I'm sorry but that's the same line of thinking that says that every kid at a birthday party has to get a prize even if they didn't win any of the games lest their poor little egos be crushed.

The Communion procession is for Communion. As someone else has put it, we go to Communion to receive Someone, not something. Those in RCIA should be taught to stay in the pew and make a spiritual Communion.

[/quote]

I agree.


#19

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