Priests won't make eye contact with me?


#1

Hi. I’m newish to Catholicism and attending Catholic mass, but I’ve been making sure I research on the proper customs at mass and Im quiet, I go to mass alone. However, I make sure to follow the rule that a non catholic has to lay their hands across their chest at communion to only receive a blessing, so I feel a little self conscious already. I have gone to two different parishes and my RCIA priest speaks to me normally as do all the “laypeople” that greet you as you walk in, but the other priests never make eye contact with me… They look to the side or kind of through me… It’s awkward… I see them making eye contact with other people. Can anyone relate or give some explanation? Im not expecting a super friendly experience as I know most Catholic parishes are more stand offish (which I actually prefer) but this is a bit awkward…


#2

Have you read this sticky regarding blessings in the communion line?

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=543513

Not sure about your question regarding eye contact. Is this after mass?


#3

[quote="Cider, post:2, topic:304849"]
Have you read this sticky regarding blessings in the communion line?

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=543513

Not sure about your question regarding eye contact. Is this after mass?

[/quote]

Interesting.. I'll see what the priest I see for RCIA says. My thoughts were that it would be ungrateful to only sit through communion. Would it be proper then to go straight to the priest where he's giving the wine?

Yes, the only time I have a chance to greet the priests is after mass when they greet everyone leaving.


#4

You do know that the ‘wine’ is still Holy Communion, don’t you, as it is the Precious Blood? In other words, if you can’t receive the Body (in the form of a wafer) yet, you can’t just go to another priest to receive frorm the chalice.

Maybe I’ve misunderstood you? in which case, sorry.


#5

[quote="michele1984, post:3, topic:304849"]
My thoughts were that it would be ungrateful to only sit through communion.

[/quote]

It is not "ungrateful" to remain in the pew if you are not receiving communion. It is normal.

[quote="michele1984, post:3, topic:304849"]

Would it be proper then to go straight to the priest where he's giving the wine?

[/quote]

It would be proper to stay in the pew. Whether one is Catholic or not yet Catholic, the communion line is for those who are receiving. If you are not receiving, you stay in the pew.

[quote="michele1984, post:3, topic:304849"]
Yes, the only time I have a chance to greet the priests is after mass when they greet everyone leaving.

[/quote]

Walk up, put out your hand, and say "hello Father, I am XXX, I'm in RCIA, so nice to meet you..." smile and shake their hand.


#6

[quote="1ke, post:5, topic:304849"]
It is not "ungrateful" to remain in the pew if you are not receiving communion. It is normal.

It would be proper to stay in the pew. Whether one is Catholic or not yet Catholic, the communion line is for those who are receiving. If you are not receiving, you stay in the pew.

Walk up, put out your hand, and say "hello Father, I am XXX, I'm in RCIA, so nice to meet you..." smile and shake their hand.

[/quote]

Good suggestion. :thumbsup:


#7

[quote="paperwight66, post:4, topic:304849"]
You do know that the 'wine' is still Holy Communion, don't you, as it is the Precious Blood? In other words, if you can't receive the Body (in the form of a wafer) yet, you can't just go to another priest to receive frorm the chalice.

Maybe I've misunderstood you? in which case, sorry.

[/quote]

Yeah, you misunderstood. I was asking that, if the priest is the only person able to give a blessing, and Im standing in the communion line, should I then skip the person giving the bread and instead go straight to the priest and cross arms over chest to get a blessing?

But what Im hearing here is that you stay in the pew. That's what I originally thought! But someone in my RCIA program who's been attending mass frequently told me I should go up and get the blessing, and a Catholic revert in my class who wants to become a cloistered nun agreed. Well goes to show I'll have to be careful next time where I get my info from. I rarely see anyone in Sunday mass not getting up for Communion
(only once). So much confusion it seems...

[quote="1ke, post:5, topic:304849"]
Walk up, put out your hand, and say "hello Father, I am XXX, I'm in RCIA, so nice to meet you..." smile and shake their hand.

[/quote]

You're completely right!! I have to get over my complex. Although at this parish this morning, he was walking back to the altar. And the last time, I had almost fainted during the "Our Father" and had to sit down with my head between my legs, and someone was nice enough to give me water.. I take 3 glucose tablets at the end of the 2nd gospel now (turns out my Aunt who is part of my family that stayed Catholic had this problem all her life, the priest would joke about it at the beginning of mass !) But sometimes I think God is testing my willpower to go to morning mass (I dont fast, just always had issues with morning blood sugar)

I have to say, the person


#8

[quote="michele1984, post:1, topic:304849"]
I have gone to two different parishes and my RCIA priest speaks to me normally as do all the "laypeople" that greet you as you walk in, but the other priests never make eye contact with me.. They look to the side or kind of through me.. It's awkward.. I see them making eye contact with other people. Can anyone relate or give some explanation?

[/quote]

Hmm...it's very likely not something about you...since you're feeling a little self-conscious already, perhaps you're just a little more sensitive to things like eye contact or lack thereof, especially in a relatively new place. If you think about all the hundreds of people going back and forth by a priest before a meeting or talk or Mass, it would not be possible for them to make contact with every single person.

In the communion line, there are many, many times when the EM or the priest has not made eye contact--more times than not I'd say. (The times they have, it can sometimes be a little distracting...but either way is fine with me.) It seems the focus is generally on each consecrated host, or maybe the tops of heads of people who have their arms crossed :), because people tend to bow a bit to receive a blessing.

I used to help before and after Mass in the sacristy, and before Mass, the priest tended to be rushing in from somewhere else, like the hospital or from a meeting or hearing a quick confession, and he would quickly try to don his vestments and prepare a few things before everything started. After Mass was similar--he would quickly put things away and then head off to a talk he was about to give, or a youth group gathering he was about to attend, etc., etc.,...and the same held true for him at most other times during the day. Priests are soooooo busy! In fact, if I think about it, I never see him, or others, just leisurely proceeding from one activity to the next. However, when their attention is needed, like when someone asks for counsel or advice (as I have at times), I am impressed how they can just stop in the moment and focus on the person at hand...as Jesus must have...and then they still have time for everything else.

May you be richly blessed on your RCIA journey!


#9

Anyone can give a blessing. I might say to you, “God bless you” (especially if you sneeze). That’s a blessing.

Priests (and deacons) are able to confer types of blessings that laypeople cannot. An example would be when a Rosary is blessed (and it thus becomes a sacramental). An exorcism (also a sacramental) is another example. These types of blessings are supposed to follow a prescribed form (there’s a Book of Blessings that all priests have). It is improper for a priest to make up such a blessing “on the fly” (though it happens).

So the question is, is a blessing at Communion the first type or the second type. Because there is no prescribed form or rite, I believe the Communion blessing is a general blessing which does not require Holy Orders to administer.

But it is also completely unnecessary. Anyone is perfectly free to remain in the pew (and nobody will think that’s strange - it happens all the time, and there are lots of reasons why people might do this). The only real benefit that I can see for this “blessing” is that it makes it easier to get everyone back into the pew in the same order.


#10

If you are not receiving Holy Communion, the best thing to do is to stay in the pew and make an Act of Spiritual Communion. There are some very beautiful prayers out there. This is one of them:

O Jesus I turn toward the holy tabernacle
where You live hidden for love of me.
I love you, O my God.
I cannot receive you in Holy Communion.
Come nevertheless and visit me with Your grace.
Come spiritually into my heart.
Purify it. Sanctify it.
Render it like unto Your own.
Amen.


#11

Hey, you’ve got it easy. :slight_smile:

In the East, that is not what that posture means, and the altar servers keep it for most of the Liturgy . . .

Our parish has lots of visitors, beign the closest to the airport, and we’ve learned to watch for this on visitors . . . for us, it’s a common position for receiving communion (there’s also the occasional scowl when we ask if an infant receives . . .)

hawk (one of the altar servers holding the cloth for Communion)


#12

When I went through RCIA, even though I was told by the RCIA coordinator that it was fine to go up for a blessing, I never did. My philosophy was that I was not going to approach the Eucharist until I could receive - but that's just me :)
Anyways, I always made sure to sit at the end of a pew so I could just step out of the pew, let everyone pass, and then go back to my spot (or let everyone in on the way back, depending on the side I was on). I attend a large parish so it is very common to have several people in the pews during communion and it's really not a big deal :)

As for eye contact, as 1ke said, introduce yourself. It's likely not an intentional thing.


#13

Michelle, it is not forbidden to go up with your arms crossed to receive a blessing, but it is redundant since everyone is blessed at every Mass by the priest anyway.
When I was entering the Church then I would always sit on the isle at Mass so that I could easily step aside and let everyone through who was receiving, and then simply return to my spot and kneel in my pew. That way you also will not be interrupted kneeling in prayer as others are returning to the pew from the other side after receiving.

This also makes your day of confirmation all the more special when you finally do go up with the others to receive our Lords precious body and blood.

Some friendly advice from a recent convert.
God bless, and welcome home. :thumbsup:


#14

This is the answer. Make a Spiritual Communion :thumbsup:

And you still get your blessing at the end of Mass :slight_smile:


#15

About the eye contact: Are you a woman? In Iran they have signs up that say to the men: "Lower your eyes brother." In that culture, and in all traditional cultures, men are discouraged from making eye contact with women outside their family. Maybe these priests are old fashioned and are practicing something like that. I think such a practice used to be a rule for priests and monks and friars. Just guessing. In any case, just ignore it. Keep your eyes on God and know that his eyes are on you (with love and mercy and judgment). I think people joining the Church think a bit too much about making meaningful connections with Catholic people. That may happen. It may not. Or it may happen somewhat, or may happen years later. Who knows. What really matters is that a person get on a track of getting more and more and more in connection with God Almighty. We, your fellow humans, and your fellow believers, will, in many ways, just disappoint you. But God will never disappoint you, or abandon you. He is your real Spouse. He is the Bridegroom. It is He whom you marry forever when you join the Church. It is Him with whom you live together in love in Eternity.


#16

[quote="Saints_Alive, post:14, topic:304849"]
This is the answer. Make a Spiritual Communion :thumbsup:

And you still get your blessing at the end of Mass :)

[/quote]

Yep, the priest gives a blessing to the entire congregation following Holy Communion. ;)


#17

[quote="michele1984, post:1, topic:304849"]
Hi. I'm newish to Catholicism and attending Catholic mass, but I've been making sure I research on the proper customs at mass and Im quiet, I go to mass alone. However, I make sure to follow the rule that a non catholic has to lay their hands across their chest at communion to only receive a blessing, so I feel a little self conscious already. I have gone to two different parishes and my RCIA priest speaks to me normally as do all the "laypeople" that greet you as you walk in, but the other priests never make eye contact with me.. They look to the side or kind of through me.. It's awkward.. I see them making eye contact with other people. Can anyone relate or give some explanation? Im not expecting a super friendly experience as I know most Catholic parishes are more stand offish (which I actually prefer) but this is a bit awkward..

[/quote]

Just a couple of points. I have heard a priest say that if you aren't going to receive you may come foreward and instead of receiving just cross your arms over your chest and ( I guess just bow your head or make the sign of the cross) then go away without receiving. This is O.K. but is just a local practice in that church.

Certainly, the usual practice is just to stay in your pew if you are not going to receive and make a " spiritual " communion instead.

It is usual for most the congregation to go up and receive. Don't worry about that, we hope that they are all receiving worthily. But some may not be. Just be concerned about yourself, pay no attention to others. :thumbsup:


#18

No it is very respectful to avoid the communion line when you are not in a position to receive. That applies to Catholics who are not in a state of grace as well as those such as yourself who have not yet been received. One can also kneel during that time, and allow the hunger for the eucharist to grow inside.

No, it is not necessary to go up to the priest during communion for a blessing. One is blessed to be in the presence of the eucharist. You should make a spiritual communion.

And lastly, no one has “wine” during communion. After the consecration, all the chalices that were filled with wine have become the Blood of Christ. :wink:


#19

[quote="paperwight66, post:4, topic:304849"]
You do know that the 'wine' is still Holy Communion, don't you, as it is the Precious Blood? In other words, if you can't receive the Body (in the form of a wafer) yet, you can't just go to another priest to receive frorm the chalice.

Maybe I've misunderstood you? in which case, sorry.

[/quote]

I think she read the link, and understands that the extraordinary minister is not supposed to be dispensing blessings during communion, so if she wanted to seek a blessing, it should be directly to the priest.


#20

[quote="michele1984, post:7, topic:304849"]
Yeah, you misunderstood. I was asking that, if the priest is the only person able to give a blessing, and Im standing in the communion line, should I then skip the person giving the bread and instead go straight to the priest and cross arms over chest to get a blessing?

[/quote]

The extraordinary minister is not "giving bread" but offering the consecrated host, which has become the Body of Christ. After the consecration we no longer refer to the elements as "bread and wine" but the Precious Body and Blood.

[quote="michele1984, post:7, topic:304849"]
But what Im hearing here is that you stay in the pew. That's what I originally thought! But someone in my RCIA program who's been attending mass frequently told me I should go up and get the blessing, and a Catholic revert in my class who wants to become a cloistered nun agreed. Well goes to show I'll have to be careful next time where I get my info from. I rarely see anyone in Sunday mass not getting up for Communion
(only once). So much confusion it seems...

[/quote]

Not everyone in RCIA is well catechized on the GIRM (rules for Mass) unfortunately and though they are devoted to the RCIA program they sometimes give misinformation.

This is a modern practice that has sprung up in many places and has caused a lot of difficulty in the parishes.

[quote="michele1984, post:7, topic:304849"]
You're completely right!! I have to get over my complex. Although at this parish this morning, he was walking back to the altar. And the last time, I had almost fainted during the "Our Father" and had to sit down with my head between my legs, and someone was nice enough to give me water.. I take 3 glucose tablets at the end of the 2nd gospel now (turns out my Aunt who is part of my family that stayed Catholic had this problem all her life, the priest would joke about it at the beginning of mass !) But sometimes I think God is testing my willpower to go to morning mass (I dont fast, just always had issues with morning blood sugar)

[/quote]

This is good. You cannot pray very well if you are passed out!


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