Expert Answer Forum
Blessings QUESTION from Adrian G. Bruley February 3, 2001 It is a common practice in my parish for Special Ministers of Holy Communion to bless those who are not prepared to receive communion or children who have not received their first communion. Additionally, this weekend our pastor, deacon and a third person (whoever is available) will bless throats. Blessing by anyone other than a priest or deacon is improper, but is there a document that sets forth the rules, regs, etc. concerning blessings. As a Special Minister of Holy Communion I regularly visit the sick and shut in. The booklet that I use for this celebration instructs me that I, as a layman, can only ask the blessings of God upon those in attendance and sign my self. This is contrary to common the practice set forth above. Please guide me...Peace
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, O.L.S.M. on February 10, 2001 Dear Mr. Bruley:
The instructions you have for visiting the sick and shut in are correct. Laymen cannot give blessings that are deputed for priests or deacons. Laymen cannot give the sign of the cross in the air with their hand out-stretched toward the person.
As far as I know, this also applies to the distribution of Eucharist in Mass. A non-ordained person should only ask for God's blessings for the person and sign oneself, with the other person signing himself, and not make the appearance of a priestly blessing.
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