Confused? EM's and communion blessings?


#1

I was driving home from work not long ago listening to catholic answers live (per usual) and they were discussing extraordinary ministers who lay hands on kids not receiving communion who come up with parents who are. Also same with some who come up with arms crossed. I didn't catch the whole segment but what came across is that this can be perceived as a public blessing and only a priest should/can confer such a blessing. (Then I also just read the above sticky that says EM's should not do this)

What immediately came to mind after hearing this was that the EM's at my parish routinely do this? In fact since hearing this I couldn't help notice that this does in fact happen quite a bit. Now before you think I'm some kind of watch dog type I'm not and I try to maintain reverence before and after communion but one can't help notice what one notices.

My question is this: is this something our pastor should be made aware of? I've never ever brought anything like this up but am in a bit of a quandry as to whether I should or not? I don't like to make waves or cause trouble but I also believe that if something is out of line during the sacrifice of the mass then all would benefit from it being corrected. Can someone offer some friendly advice here?

Thanks


#2

It has become quite a common practice for EHCM to bless kids and adults who are not receiving communions during the Holy Communion if they go up the line. A prior question that need to addres before we ask this is should they go up the line if they do not receiev the Holy Communion? If they should or could, then due to the practicality of the situation, the ECHMs could do it. It is certainly a logistic nightmare for the priest to do this among the one thousand congregation or so. If the ECHMs are 'authorised' to give Communion, are not they should be giving the blessing too? There are probably legality about this as often discussed here but I thinks those questions need to be dealt with to address this.


#3

EMHCs can no more confer a blessing at Mass than my dog can.


#4

Also laying on of hands has its own significance and is completely inappropriate for the laity to do. Hint watch the rite of holy order or confirmation. Now note who is the ordinary minister of both those sacraments.


#5

[quote="hudson, post:3, topic:313345"]
EMHCs can no more confer a blessing at Mass than my dog can.

[/quote]

You must be a devoted dogs lover to accord them such honor. But how true it is. Sometimes dogs can be better than humans in term of love, fidelity, courtesy and respect.:shrug:


#6

[quote="Reuben_J, post:2, topic:313345"]
It has become quite a common practice for EHCM to bless kids and adults who are not receiving communions during the Holy Communion if they go up the line. A prior question that need to addres before we ask this is should they go up the line if they do not receiev the Holy Communion? If they should or could, then due to the practicality of the situation, the ECHMs could do it. It is certainly a logistic nightmare for the priest to do this among the one thousand congregation or so. If the ECHMs are 'authorised' to give Communion, are not they should be giving the blessing too? There are probably legality about this as often discussed here but I thinks those questions need to be dealt with to address this.

[/quote]

I agree with Reuben in that the first question to address is whether or not those who are not able to receive Holy Communion should even be going up. Of course I am not including small children who are with their parents here. The laity receives a blessing at the end of mass; there is no need, nor anything that I have seen that allows, for a special individual blessing in place of receiving Holy Communion. That aside, Michelle Arnold, an apologist here at CAF has this to say:

With that said, I am left to wonder, if a deacon’s ability to impart blessings is limited, how much authority to impart a blessing does a lay person (even a EMHC) have? Was this authority passed down to them by the clergy? I don't have first-hand knowledge of this one way or another but logically speaking why would the clergy impart this ability on EMHCs when nothing in the GIRM suggests that blessings are even a part of Holy Communion??? :confused: If I had to guess based on my understanding, I'd say that blessings shouldn't be part of Holy Communion and EMHCs do not have the authority to impart blessings on those that they do not have spiritual authority over.


#7

I've never really given this much thought as this happens ALL the time in my parish ( as a child I always went to the priest for blessing though). But the people going for blessing are the unbaptised and children. Perhaps the blessing is like that of parental blessing? That we, the community and the Body of Christ (represented by the EMs) welcome and take responsibility for those who are 'younger' in faith?

Also at the Easter vigil mass, we are asked to stretch our hands over the Elect and candidates. Isn't that a form of blessing? :confused:

This is kind of a problem. In my parish the priest's line is long just as it is. If all the kids/unbaptized went to him, communion will last an hour. But on the other hand, if they tell parents not to bring their kids for blessing, it'll cause a backlash of very irate parents. There's been sort of a controversy over bringing kids to mass in my diocese as they are pegged as a distraction which made a lot of people, especially parents and grandparents quite unhappy. I think it would cause another outcry if kids were discouraged blessing.


#8

[quote="Tietjen, post:6, topic:313345"]

With that said, I am left to wonder, if a deacon’s ability to impart blessings is limited, how much authority to impart a blessing does a lay person (even a EMHC) have?

[/quote]

None.
*
This Congregation for Divine Worship and the Disciple of the Sacraments acknowledges receipt of your kind letter of 13 August, 2008 and would like to thank you for your interest and suggestions. This matter is presently under the attentive study of the Congregation.

For the present, therefore, this Dicastery wishes to limit itself to the following observations:
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.

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; can. 1169, § 2; and Roman Ritual De Benedictionibus (1985), n. 18).
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.
*

[quote="Tietjen, post:6, topic:313345"]

Was this authority passed down to them by the clergy?

[/quote]

No. It is not a matter of having this authority "passed down"-- not possible to do so. Lay people have not received Holy Orders. Deacons have.


#9

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