Blessings from EMHCs


My Dad is a lapsed Catholic and in the process of coming back to the Church. When he goes to Mass he will only go up to receive a blessing from the priest, not the Extraordinary Ministers. If the priest isn’t in his line-up he’ll either switch or stay seated. I’m wondering if the blessing from the EMHCs is somehow spiritually “less” than that from the priest directly? My own understanding is that it’s the same blessing, given like in proxy of the priest, same as offering the Host, but now I’m not sure. Is the priest’s blessing “better” than the EMHCs? :confused:


Actually, an EMHC has NO authority and/or power to bless anyone, so I guess the answer is: Yes, the Priest’s blessing is better!


Really, wow… so there’s no point to getting a ‘blessing’ from them then (if it isn’t even a real blessing)?


We practice blessing in our parish also however there is no “right” or procedure within the Mass for it. The rule is only those ordained in Holy Orders can give the Mass blessing (which occurs at the end of Mass)

hope that helps


The Catechism states that a man who has been ordained - as opposed to any laity who is elected, designated, etc. by a community - is permitted to exercise a “sacred power” which comes from the Holy Spirit (CCC 1538). This seems to indicate that the blessing from clergy is “more efficacious”, in that I, as a layman, would merely be “shooting blanks” whereas the priest would actually be calling down blessing from Heaven.

Of course, there is a secondary question here about whether giving blessings during Communion is even proper. It has been Church tradition that no blessing of any sort is given when the Eucharist is exposed (since the Eucharist is the Blessing of blessings, in a way) and that this is a time for Communion, not blessings. Everyone will be receiving a blessing several minutes after Communion is over, so having people come up to receive blessings seems to be unwarranted…


Some CAF members wrote the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments regarding this question, and received an answer back that NO blessings should be given during Communion, either from an EMHC or the priest. See this thread:

CDWDS response regarding blessings during Communion procession


I do not believe they properly concluded that for example one has to over look the real answer which is ***“This matter is presently under the attentive study of the Congregation” ***


Thank you! I see that this has been thoroughly discussed on these forums already; very enlightening. There are so many improprieties in what has become - in many parishes - standard protocol it’s almost overwhelming. I’m afraid the warped *lex orandi *may gradually warp my lex credendi. #4 on that list in the letter is particularly distressing, since it is precisely because of his marriage that my Dad left the Church and is unable to receive communion (my parents were both divorced and then married each other). :frowning:


Neithan, your parents are in my prayers that they can work things out and your dad can return to the Church.


This was one of those things, that really popped my eyes open… :hypno: upon my return to the Church <after a 10 year absence>.

There is one EMHC in our parish, an elderly gentleman… who makes an enormous “priest-like” Sign of the Cross in the air, over the head of the person seeking a blessing. It is clearly obvious… that he believes he is imparting something like a priestly blessing. When I first saw this… I was like… :eek: and asked myself, silently… “when did THIS become the norm?”. :confused:

Now of course, I know that it shouldn’t be happening. So I will usually keep my head bowed, after receiving Communion… and just silently pray.


I don’t think anyone is actually supposed to go up during Mass for a blessing even to the priest. Its not part of the Mass.

Our priest waits until the Mass is finished and then people will go to him for a blessing.


All blessing, regardless of who gives them, come from God.
That being said, from my first instruction as an EMCH, I was instructed to bless babies and young children as they come with their parents to Communion. The blessing I give is a simple hand on the head, thumb blessing like I received every morning from my mother as I left for school. The words I use are "may the Lord bless you and keep you."
I am not a priest. However, I do act on his behalf. So you could say that God blesses through the priest who in turn blesses through me.
I now belong to a more conservative diocese than where I was first commissioned as an EMCH. It is the first place in which I have seen adults come forward for a blessing. These adults, for whatever reason, cannot receive Communion. Individuals on the other threads within this forum have stated how this simple blessing helped them make the decision to join the Catholic Church. At the same time there were many posters who were vehemently opposed to the practice. My position is that I am being obedient to the priest who has directed me to bless those who step forward for this blessing.
Blessings are a sacramental, not a Sacrament. There is always the pastoral consideration.


EMOHC are not authorized to give the blessing. I was commissioned 6 years ago and was taught that. The Laity are not to make any gestures that mimic priestly gestures during the mass with the exception of those we are commissioned to do. The most we can say if someone comes up to us in error is something like “Receive Jesus in your heart” with no gestures.


It would seem funny the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Disciple of the Sacraments did not know that maybe you should teach them?


I have been commissioned for over 15 years. There is annual retraining. There have been no changes in what I was taught when it comes to blessings.
While they bear a resemblance to sacraments, sacramentals are sacred signs instituted by the Church. Among sacramentals, blessings (of persons, meals, objects, and places) come first. In Christ, Christians are blessed by God the Father “with every spiritual blessing.” We are called to bless and be a blessing. “All blessings praise God for his gifts” (United States Catholic Catechism for Adults)…
There was the story in the Christmas 2008 Magnificat about a lay person who came upon a young child crying because the dish she was carrying shattered. He blessed the pieces and the dish was restored.
Again, it is only on this forum that I have read objections to blessings. Regardless of the person who gives the blessing, it is God himself who actually bestows the blessing. Why would somebody object to that which brings somebody into the Church? I am not blessing the congregation (reserved for the priest), but only the individual with the same traditional gesture I received each morning as a child leaving home.


Can you please refer me to the relevant document of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Disciple of the Sacraments?
I’ve been to the Vatican website and the section on CDW but can’t find anything on this matter.


My apology to you Seatuck who clearly stated “EMOHC” which is correct and something I overlooked. The issue of those with Holy Orders is in review. Seatuck is correct EMOHCs are instructed to not give a blessing.

thistle the letter is all over the web here one site, I suspect the letter was not intended to be published


No 2 says laypeople are unable to confer blessings. They do seem to know it.

Didn’t see your last response. Thank you .


There is nothing wrong with laypeople conferring personal blessings in personal settings. That is very different from the public liturgy.


So we all agree then. EMHC’s CANNOT give blessings during Mass to anyone in the Communion line.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit