I am not catholic yet,

but I do attend mass. during the holy Eucharist is it proper for me to go to the front and ask for a blessing, or should I stay in my seat and remain kneeling. thank you.

It’s best to remain in your seat. The priest will bless everybody at the end of Mass, so there’s no need to go up for an individual blessing.

A great thing to do while waiting in your seat is to make a “spiritual Communion.” When you do this you tell Jesus you believe He is present in the Eucharist, that you very much desire to receive Him, and ask Him to come to you spiritually since you are not now able to receive Him sacramentally. There are several formal prayers of spiritual Communion (one example is below), or you can use your own words.

My Jesus, I believe that Thou art present in the Blessed Sacrament. I love Thee above all things and I desire Thee in my soul. Since I cannot now receive Thee sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. As though thou wert already there, I embrace Thee and unite myself wholly to Thee; permit not that I should ever be separated from Thee. (by Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori)

Oh dear - this is a touchy subject. Please do not be put off from the Church if your question triggers a firestorm discussion!

In many parishes the priest invites those who are not receiving Communion (for whatever reason) to come forward and receive a blessing. This is not actually part of the liturgy and some people believe it is a VERY BAD THING. Other people believe it is A VERY BEAUTIFUL THING or a VERY PASTORAL GESTURE or . . . you get the idea.

My advice would be 1) don’t go forward if you are not comfortable doing so - it is never “required.” 2) If the priest invites non-communicants to go forward and you feel you would like to, go ahead. If the priest doesn’t extend the invitation, going forward may NOT be acceptable in that parish and if you go forward you may cause confusion.

In either case, the priest gives a general blessing at the end of Mass which is for everyone, including you - by all means join in it!

thank you for your responses. I now have a better understanding. god bless you both.

I am in the same boat as you on this Paddy 03. If you attend the same parish regularly, find time to ask the parish priest about this.

Maybe watch and see if anyone else goes for a blessing.

In my parish, you certainly would be welcome to come forward. Just cross both of your arms over your chest.

I am in the same boat as well and have had the same question. At the parish I usually attend, it’s customary to stay in your pew, though it impedes traffic flow just a bit. At the parish I’m frequently in during the summer, non-communicants go forward and cross their arms over their chests. I like it personally as I think it’s an excellent way to keep the logistics easy (read: large women awkwardly stumbling over you as you squeeze against the back of your pew) and makes the issue of whether one is a communicant or a non-communicant (for whatever reason - unconfessed sin, visitor, etc.) a less obvious and more private matter between the individual, the priest, and God.

Of course, as explained earlier, there are plenty of people who believe it to be a very bad idea - and they have some early church arguments in their favor.

Count me three on this one. On a CAF thread the other day a fellow had some pretty compelling reasons NOT to go, but sometimes when you stay behind you are literally in the way. At one church I attend with ushers it’s better to “go with the flow” at another it’s less crowded and no ushers so it’s simple to stay behind, kneel and pray for spiritual communion.

You should stay in your seat and make a Spiritual Communion.

With all due respect, please do not mislead the OP. This practice is illicit and should not be done. The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments has given five clear reasons as to why this blessing in lieu of receiving Holy Communion should not be done:

  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).

This is not a call for an individual priest or bishop to make, since this observation comes directly from the Holy See. To suggest to the OP that this can be done is, as I see it, uncharitable because this is a practice that should not be done for the reasons given by the CDWDS. We should not be perpetuating bad liturgical practices.

To the OP, please do not consider this as the Church being unwelcoming. Prior to the distribution of Holy Communion, the celebrant shows us the Body of Christ and says, “Behold the Lamb of God. Happy are those who are called to His Supper.” This is an invitation for properly disposed Catholics to come and receive Our Lord in Holy Communion. The blessing, which is perhaps the most universal part of the Mass, comes at the end and is applicable to everyone. Remain in your pew and make a spiritual act of Communion, asking Jesus to come into your heart and to help you as you make your journey of Faith into His Church.

Actually, the most compelling reasons not to go have already been given by the Church, herself, through the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. It is not the usher’s call nor is it the celebrant’s call. Even the idea of “being in the way” is not a good reason to simply go up just because everyone else is going up.

The line is only for those who are receiving Someone (the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ). Everyone will be receiving the blessing at the end of Mass. If there are folks who feel so inclined to want an individual blessing, then, nothing precludes them from asking the celebrant to impart one after Mass.

So if one is not technically a Catholic or in full communion with the Catholic Church one can not receive a blessing during the distribution of the Eucharist because it can lead to confusion however one can receive an individual blessing after Mass, even immediately after Mass?


This makes me sad to hear, as I feel very, very blessed when my Priest lays his hand on my forehead and gives me a personal blessing each week. I have been told that it is entirely normal not only for my Parish and Diocese but that of the surrounding area and most of Britain as well. Our Priest himself encouraged me to do this.


To be told that my Church and my Priest are promoting bad practise and I shouldn’t be allowed to do this is somewhat upsetting.

When I went to Catholic church, I most definitely did go up there to get blessed. I simply crossed my arms. That’s what I learned from catholic officials.

Confusion doesn’t really have a lot to do with it. Distribution of the Eucharist is for distribution of the Eucharist, and is not intended for blessings, even though it happens in many parishes. I think that those who think it leads to confusion don’t give many parishioners much credit for being able to figure things out. :shrug:

Personally, I think if one’s parish is handing out blessings during the distribution of the Eucharist, and the priest and bishop are OK with it, and it’s a child who’s looking forward to their first communion or an RCIA candidate, why not participate? On the other hand, one going up for a blessing week after week with no intention of ever receiving the Eucharist…what’s the point?

No need for those who disagree to tell me why this is wrong; it’s been documented ad nauseum. It’s merely my opinion, not “official” teaching.

At my extraordinary form Mass, little children kneel at the Communion railing with everyone else, with their arms crossed over their chests.

The priest gives them a blessing in Latin, makes the sign of the cross over their heads and “pats” their heads lightly afterward. It’s very quick, as he goes down the line.

But, the problem is that it was not up to the “officials” to grant permission to do this. We form a line to receive Holy Communion, Someone, not a blessing, something. The blessing, which comes at the end of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, will be given to everyone at the end of the liturgy. Actions such as what you and previous posters have described lead only to confusion and do more harm than good.

Caroline, I’m not trying to be insensitive, but, your post is precisely why this should not be happening. The priest should not be encouraging something that is ilicit. Not only should this not be done, but, it breeds confusion among the faithful. No priest nor bishop has the right to insert and imbed a ritual within the context of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. What we need to realize is that the blessing which comes at the end of the Mass will be applicable to all. It is the most inclusive part of the Mass.

(I do actually spell my name with a K :p)

What is the blessing at the end of Mass? Sorry, I’ve only been to Church 6 times I think, not started the RCIA process for Candidates yet and I’m still trying to get used to everything. It certainly doesn’t breed confusion in our area as everyone knows what to do with regards to receiving a Blessing rather than Communion for whatever reason that may be. Would ‘proper’ Catholics who had not been to Confession/ had eaten before Mass just have to sit still as well or is it just us poor Non/Almost-Catholics that aren’t allowed? I must be honest and say that I am somewhat upset and disappointed to hear this as I rather enjoy going up to receive a Blessing from my Priest and everyone else has told me it’s perfectly acceptable as long as I don’t receive Communion. It feels slightly like Non/ Almost-Catholics still being ostracised whilst within the Church and I thought we’d moved past the time when Catechumens had to leave the Church after the Liturgy of the Word as it was all a ‘mystery of the Faith.’ :frowning:


Please do not be upset. This is a very controversial situation, which requires much sensitivity from both sides.

Although the individual blessing is not part of liturgical norms, it has become very common place in many parishes. I have heard some bishops issuing instructions, but I’ve never heard of a bishop taking any action to stop it.

Please follow the custom of your parish, and the instructions of your Pastor, rather than be upset by internet forums.

God bless you. I say this now, and would also say it as an EMHC, if you approached me with your arms folded over your chest. I would just lay my hand on your shoulder, and never make a sign of the cross over you, since this is a priestly gesture which the laity should not use.

It is so difficult to explain why open communion is not the teaching of the Catholic Church. This custom has come into practice to help in relations with those not fully prepared to receive Holy Communion.


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