And now, another edition of "Mass Chat"...
Fr. Z has posted helpful advice on the strange novelty of everyone getting up at Communion time and going forward to receive either the Eucharist, or a blessing. His post should be developed into official guidelines for the reception of Holy Communion and printed on the back covers of Missalettes.
It always annoys me when I see lay EMHCs (Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion) bless little kids or anyone else who approaches communion with their arms folded over their chest because for whatever reason they are not able to receive the sacrament. Some EMHCs touch children's heads in blessing while others pretend to offer a priestly blessing - laity can bless, but it is not the same as a priestly blessing - yet they do it anyway. Crossing one's arms over one's breast is the Byzantine manner of receiving Holy Communion anyway. In the Latin rite it is a sentimental novelty of recent development, and in the United States I believe it's probably an idea picked up from Evangelical Crusades or Pentecostal religious revivals, when everyone goes forward to confess Jesus as Lord and Saviour. Catholics already do that liturgically at the Creed.
Fr. Z: Letter - 'lay Communion minister wouldn't bless me'...
- First, lay people who are helping to distribute Communion have no business giving blessings. Therefore, I am glad that the person didn’t attempt to bless you in the manner of a priest. Yours is a good example why lay ministers of Communion should never make the gesture of blessing in the manner of a priest. Such a practice confuses people, just as you were confused in the moment you described.
- Second, it is a matter of debate whether blessings should be given at the Communion rail at all. I am of the opinion that they should not be. Holy Mass has its moment for a blessing: at the end. The time of Holy Communion is the time for Holy Communion, not for blessings even if they are from the deacon or priest.
So knock it off.