What are EMHC supposed to say/do?


I know they aren’t supposed to give blessings, but what should an EMHC supposed to say/do when someone comes forward for a “blessing”? One lady complained because the EMHC said something like, “Receive the Lord Jesus in your heart.” Is that wrong to say?


Blessings are not supposed to be given at communion and certainly not by an EMHC. Laying hands on a person is not allowed in our diocese at communion by a priest or EMHC. It never happened to me in all my years as one so I really don’t know what I would do. Maybe just smile at them as I do with little kids. If they questioned me I would say we are not allowed to bless.


It seems acceptable to say this. This is the wording offered by my parish’s training program, and our priest is faithful and orthodox. That wording cannot be construed as a blessing in any way. However, it is a compromise solution to a problem that shouldn’t exist. The liturgy foresees no blessings at all in the Communion line, so making up a line for EMHCs to dish out instead of a host is establishing custom where none is necessary. People should merely be discouraged from approaching if they can’t receive.

Bottom line is, go with the guidance of your pastor. He is the liturgist and knows best possible practice for your parish community. This is too small a matter to put up a big fight over.


In the UK it is very common for people to come at communion for a blessing (it’s unusual not to in fact) and I’ve never known a parish which doesn’t do it. This post is obviously not about whether it is right or wrong for that to be the case, so I’ll stick to answering the OP.

What we were told as EMsHC is that if someone comes for a blessing at communion we should say an invocation, but definately not a blessing. So it is acceptable to say ‘may God bless us’, but not ‘may God bless you’. The difference is tiny linguistically, but huge theologically.

All the best



Thanks for the replies. It made sense to me that the EMHC said this. I mean, if we don’t physically receive Communion, aren’t we supposed to make a spiritual act of Communion?


It’s a sticky situation, truly. No easy solutions.



Reading the responses for the opening poster, the solution is easy as had their answer actually answered and nothing of a sticky situation about it :slight_smile:
I wonder if you have misread something of the opening poster for you to think the situation is sticky and no easy solution? hmmm
peace be with you


No, I can read. This is a sticky situation that is oft discussed here. Blessings aren’t supposed to be given in the Communion line. But a lot of people present themselves for one. What to do? If you strictly follow the rubrics, say nothing? Then what if the person just stands there, confused? You come off looking like a jerk. Bless them, therefore adding something to the Mass that is not supposed to be there? Not the best solution either.


[quote=SHoJ]Thanks for the replies. It made sense to me that the EMHC said this. I mean, if we don’t physically receive Communion, aren’t we supposed to make a spiritual act of Communion?

Actually, that makes perfect sense. “Receive the Lord Jesus in your heart” sounds more like a request to make a spiritual act of Communion than it does a blessing…! :thumbsup:


It’s a little worse than that. Since laypersons are incapable of bestowing blessings in the context of the Mass, it would be deceptive and invalid for an EMHC to speak words of blessing over a non-communicant. Such an attempted blessing would not happen. The same for laying on of hands, which has a particular sacramental significance and must be avoided. The line offered by the OP is the most generous possible concession to this practice.


I agree that it is probably the best solution to a sticky and confusing situation.


God bless you.


[quote="zab, post:12, topic:300159"]
God bless you.


God bless you as well:thumbsup:


I think that it is a very correct thing to say, it is an invitation to spiritual communion. I usually say “receive the spirit of Jesus Christ in you heart”


I have to say, that (and other similar phrases) could be misinterpreted imo. The EMHC could appear to be implying that he or she was actually bestowing Jesus in some way.
In our training, ‘Jesus is your friend’ was recommended as something to say to children but I don’t remember anything suggested to say to adults. I tend to say, ‘May God bless you’., as that is something anyone could say to friend or neighbour.


I just look at the person and say "Sorry, but I’m not a priest."
That has always worked - no complants and everyone has seemed to understand.


So you are saying the direct invocation of a blessing sounds less of a blessing than an invitation to spiritual communion?:confused:

If people are confused by the invitation to make spiritual communion and they think that someone is somehow bestowing Jesus on them, then they have much bigger catechetical problems to deal with and the confusion that arises from the words is the least of their problems. However your statement further reinforces my belief that is fundamentally wrong for anyone to give a blessing to the people in the communion line.


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