Raising hand blessing

Is it appropriate to raise one’s hand when at the end of Mass. the priest gives a blessing to those taking communion to others?


If I understand correctly, that is a sign of the imparting of the Apostolic blessing…

I don’t raise my hand.

I bet there is no instruction prohibiting this specifically. It seems odd to me, but I see no point in making any thing out of this oddity. I know some people who are more charismatic do such things without thought, kind of like some always fold their hands in prayer without ever giving it a thought. If that is the case, there is surely nothing wrong with praying for someone in Church.

That’s a bet you would lose.

There is.

The laity are not to imitate priestly gestures. It’s found in quite a number of recent instructions from the Holy See.

This blessing of extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion is part of the Church’s liturgy. It’s found in the approved books (it was in the old Sacramentary for convenience, but I don’t recall if it’s printed in the new Roman Missal). It has its proper place at the end of Mass when the priest sends forth the EMHCs as his representatives. That means it’s governed by the rubrics and by the liturgical norms of the Church.

Only the priest is blessing the EMHCs. Only the priest can bless them. And only the priest is the one to extend his hand(s) when he gives a sacerdotal blessing.

§ 2. To promote the proper identity (of various roles) in this area, those abuses which are contrary to the provisions of canon 907 are to be eradicated. In eucharistic celebrations deacons and non-ordained members of the faithful may not pronounce prayers — e.g. especially the eucharistic prayer, with its concluding doxology — or any other parts of the liturgy reserved to the celebrant priest. Neither may deacons or non-ordained members of the faithful use gestures or actions which are proper to the same priest celebrant. It is a grave abuse for any member of the non-ordained faithful to “quasi preside” at the Mass while leaving only that minimal participation to the priest which is necessary to secure validity.


What I find troubling is that the charismatic movement considers itself to be exempt from the Church’s liturgical practice, rubrics, and norms and outright liturgical laws, with little regard to no regard for these, even after the Church makes clarifications.

Just because the charismatics are doing something, does not make it legitimate.

I know that’s not exactly what you are saying. My comment is a general one that was merely prompted by your post.

Thank you Father for these posts. My question is: How does a parish STOP people from doing this? It seems to be SO ingrained in people already…I’ve even seen priests ask the people to raise their hands in blessing at times. As a person who works in Catechesis and Liturgy, I get looked at like I have three heads by people I speak to about this, OR they simply tell me I’m being harsh and there’s no harm in it. :frowning:

To me, this is a bigger issue than the hand holding during the Our Father, which I have just about given up on. I don’t hold hands, and everyone knows why. I also have to close my eyes to avoid the rolled eyes of others. Not that I really care…but man…it’s a tough crowd.
Any advice?

LOL! Ah, but I hedged my bet because I was aware of what you quoted. That is why I used the qualify “specifically,” as in specifying that gesture. Oh, I do agree that this is one place this applies, with one caveat. Raising a hand in a blessing is a priestly gesture for sure. But raising hands in prayer is common for some people.

In any case, I do not see that anything should be done. Not everyone understands the impropriety of such actions. If it is a few people, maybe it would be prudent to simply be silent. It is hardly worth offending people. The rules are the servant of the faithful, not the master. If such a practice is widespread, then blanket instruction might be in order and would not be taken personally.

St. Paul said, “Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.” Lifting up hands in prayer at one time was a posture proper to all. In some places, it still is. If this is done as a prayer within the context of Mass, as opposed to a part of the Mass, I think I would just let it go. Like you, I do not care for it and was not raised with this. I dabbled a little with Charismatic Christianity but I have never been comfortable with that type of spirituality.

I love them and am so glad they are with us but they do kind of remind me of the free spirited medieval groups that were marginal or outright heretics.

Only the priest has the power to bestow blessings. This type of action is more Protastant than anything…as Catholics, we can pray for the people receiving the blessings by all means and wish them well, but please, PLEASE keep your hand down. Anyone else think it looks a little like Hilter’s salute too?

The priest asks us to raise our hand in blessing all the time. If we the laity aren’t suppose to do it how do we get the priest to stop asking us to do it.:shrug:

Well, that’s the point.
If the priest gives the directive, then people follow suit.

Educating people retroactively is often problematic, because I’ve learned that once you permit a thing…people become angry and argumentative, sullen if you will, because they feel *something has been taken away from them. * Something they felt was given. Something special .They never ever stop to think that it might have been inappropriate or counter to what is permitted. No matter how gently you say it, or the context of the class you are giving, there are always rolled eyes and sneers.

That’s why I asked.
Hard to unring that bell, IMHO.
People on CAF complain all the time that American Catholics are poorly catechized.

It ain’t for lack of trying. :wink:

But what about the priests? They should know better. If a priest tells us to raise our hands I am going to follow suit (unless it is to volunteer. :D) It seems to me someone should tell the priests not to ask people to raise their hands for a blessing.

After the priest raises his hand to bless the congregation and says, ‘‘The Peace of the Lord be with you’’, and the congregation responds, ‘‘And also with you’’, a few people at our church raise their hands to in turn bless the priest. Is this also wrong?

Thank you, Fr.David!

Maybe the priest does know better, which is why we should second-guess him and assume he is wrong.

Thank you Father.

Thank you Father.

You mean should not? I am going to assume the priest is correct except where it is obvious and significant. Raising your hand at his direction IMO is not significant. Being a convert I kind of have to assume the priest is correct.:stuck_out_tongue:

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