Eucharistic Minister Blessings

During communion, how should a Eucharistic Minister administer a blessing to a parishioner that comes for a blessing with arms crossed? Is the blessing the same for an adult or child? How should a blessing be done by a lay person to another lay person? I was told that only a priest can lay hands on a person but I could put my hands on that person’s shoulder, for instance, when I gave the blessing. Any help will be appreciated.
Richard Otero.

Lay persons cannot bless others.
Parents may bless their own child due to the special nature of their relationship.

It is best that you just bow your head and say a prayer for the person in question. Say “God bless you”, and send them on their way.

First, the laying of hands has a special meaning in our Church. The imposition of hands is done during Ordinations and Confirmation. So its rather inappropriate to do so for blessings in lieu of communion.

Second, EMHCs do not have the authority nor the ministry to dispense blessings. Not only the priest should be the only one to give blessings, the ministry of EMHC is purely to help in the distribution of the Eucharist. Nothing more, nothing less. Giving blessings is not part of this lay ministry.

This is an excellent, succinct explanation. Great post.

This is a good suggestion too. I love the way you put it, say the words with bowed head and send them on their way, nice and simple. I would add however, when you say these words, add “May” to it. Even in the book of blessings used by clergy, the wording is “May God bless you”, it is a request of God to bless.

We shouldn’t lay hands, or wave the magic hand; but also important is to not make the person feel stupid or out of place by refuseing to do anything. I have watched this happen and it is not good to “teach” when a person in in line for communion, or a blessing.

Especially for a communicant who knows there is grave reason not to recieve, don’t make a scene and single them out. You will cause more harm than good.

Does your parish , priest or E.M.H.C., bless at Comminion?

I guess we should say “May God bless you” when someone sneezes.

Actually, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments answered this question with five observations back on November 22, 2008. The document bears an protocol number, No. 930/08/L. Here is what the CDWDS wrote:

  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 remains a rather contentious issue here on CAF. However, the prevailing authority in this case is the Holy See. The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments acts in and with the authority of the Holy Father.

The Eucharistic Minister is the priest and only he is allowed to give blessings at Mass.
The Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (EMHC’s) are lay people and are not Eucharistic Ministers. They are not allowed to give blessings at Mass.

If you like…:wink:

What should one do if this was brought to the attention of the person in charge of the EMHCs but that person refuses to remove the blessings? The answer from the CDWDS is pretty clear, IMO. No room for excuse I would think, but you never know.

A deacon is also an ordinary minister of Communion. Can’t deacons give blessings (at least in some circumstances)?

But really, blessings shouldn’t be given during Communion. What really needs to happen is that those who should not receive should neither get in line nor feel pressured to get in line. Non-Catholics ought to be advised, politely but firmly, that they may not present themselves for Holy Communion. As for Catholics, it has been argued – persuasively, in my judgment – that the Communion fast ought to be increased to 3 hours, in part to give cover to those who cannot receive Communion. Then they can remain seated.

The priest is the Eucharistic Minister because only he can confect the Sacrament. It pertains to the priest/bishop to impart the blessings during Mass (wherever indicated in the GIRM and the Roman Missal).

Nonetheless, you are correct about staying in the pew.

This is correct, a deacon is an ordinary minister of Holy Communion; not a Eucharistic minister.

The deacon can impart the blessings just as the priest. Both priests and deacons can impart all blessings which are not reserved to the bishop alone, the books of the rites will dictate which are for the bishop alone.

The difference is that it is in the mass. The deacon should deffer to the priest for blessings if one is present, there is always a priest present in the mass, or it isn’t a mass.

If it were a communion service where the presider is a deacon, he will impart the final blessing to the people exactly as the priest would.

In the normal Church-style Mass, all this is perfectly understandable.

I work in a Catholic high school in NSW, Australia. We have whole-school Masses about four times a year in the gymnasium. About 900 students. Chairs dragged across from various classrooms to cater for the numbers. You get the idea.
Anyway–the students are a bit cramped-in, as far as seating goes. At communion time, they all have to get up and move in various lines towards the Eucharistic Minister for their section. They aren’t allowed to stay seated, as it would be too chaotic–stepping over other students, squeezing past, knocking the chairs over.

So, every student, no matter what, has to approach the Eucharistic Minister (that’s what they call them here–they’re all senior students) and either receive the Eucharist or cross their arms on their chest.

No problem, I hear you say–only that they don’t get the option. We have more than a few avowed atheists among our student population who have to put up with being blessed. In their minds, they are forced to be hypocrites for the sake of traffic management.

That really is quite simple to solve- when they get to the Extraordinary Ministers (senior students are NOT priests, therefore they cannot be Eucharistic Ministers. They need to be referred to by their proper name- Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion), they just walk by, no stopping. Same with those who are not receiving.

While I trace a cross on their forehead I lean in and tell them “Jesus loves you.” To me, that conveys the same message as “the Body of Christ”.

Um… you’re not supposed to be doing that.
Such a gesture is only appropriate from a parent to a child, or during the RCIA candidate acceptance rite.

Prior to ordination, while distributing the Blessed Sacrament, I said this to a woman who approached with arms crossed, who replied in dismay “That’s IT!?” I said “I’m sorry, that’s all I got.”:shrug:

So next week when I am asked to help with the distribution of ashes…