Military Parishes.. congregation blessing

I noticed all Catholic parishes on military posts do this after the Mass is over.

They ask if anyone is leaving so the priest** can give a blessing**. In FOB Victory, the **priest before the Mass **ask if there was anyone new. They are given a time to introduce themselves. At the end of the Mass is there anyone leaving.

Is this allowed?

Oh by the way, the blessing at the End of the Mass, the congregation raise their hands up to the individual, and blesses the individual along with the priest.

My mind have been pondering why they do this. I’m not sure if this is allowed.

I posted this in Ask an Apologist, but I never got an answer.

I am not getting why you think this is a problem. there are many rites and blessings where the congregation is invited to pray along with the priest or deacon, RCIA has many such examples.

I just find it odd because I been to most Masses that didn’t allowed that. It wasn’t until I join the Military I noticed it as a common practice for the congregation to bless particular individuals, especially if they are deploying, or if they are deployed (they are ask to be bless for their return safe home).

the average parish does not have people deploying each week, but we have from time to time had a special blessing for a young person leaving to join the military, or leaving for Iraq etc. (3 just a couple of weeks ago) our priest uses something from the book of blessings, and there is a point when congregation is asked to join in the prayer. He is the most orthodox priest I know, and the most by-the-book, and I assume he knows more about it than I do so the practice is fine. I make the same assumption about your military chaplain, he knows more than you or I do.

Would it be better do to do the blessing privately?

Why? The congregation is there. They are a community, and on base, they are more family. Who better to pray along with the priest than those who know what this is about, shipping out?

I am still not getting what is your beef about the entire congregation joining in asking a blessing, which the priest is giving, for a soldier? or for a couple celebrating an anniversary? or for RCIA candidates?

It is more than appropriate that the people who know where/what the deployed person is getting into, and know WHY s/he needs the blessing. It is not different than a family being with a person who is being blessed privately.

RCIA is not problem for me. It makes sense. It’s just not something I was brought up in when I attended the Mass before I was in the Army.

The Masses I have attended in St. Francis of Assisi, St. John, in Manhattan, were completely different. They were more formal, or traditional in their liturgy.

Manny, I attend a cathedral parish and I am a Navy vet of the Vietnam era. We’ve done that blessing for some of our young men who were heading off to war. It was very moving for me…a vindication (so to speak) of what we vets from the Vietnam era had to endure. I would have given anything back in 1971 to have had the parish acknowledge my service and to pray for me.

When Veterans Day falls on a Sunday, at the end of Mass, Father asks all the vets to stand up. He thanks us for our service and gives us a blessing.

Stand tall and may God bless you and keep you!

I think I can put it this way. I was never expose to this type of “tradition” of blessing service members. I would have to call it the American Military Catholic tradition… short of like receiving the Blessed Host on your hand which is American in origin.

Other Catholic countries always received the Eucharist on the mouth.

It’s still difficult for me to get use to it. Had I been raised in a military family and see this as a common practice, it wouldn’t be a problem because its a norm.

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