Are extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion able to give blessings?


Full Question

In our parish, those who are not able to receive the Eucharist are invited to come up in the communion procession and receive a blessing. Since we have several extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist, it is usually they who give the blessing. Is this correct?

Answer

There are certain cases in which a lay person may give a blessing. The general introduction to the Book of Blessings states: "Other laymen and laywomen, in virtue of the universal priesthood, a dignity they possess because of their baptism and confirmation, may celebrate certain blessings, as indicated in the respective orders of blessings, by use of the rites and formularies designated for a lay minister" (18).

In the rubrics for the distribution of Holy Communion to the sick by extraordinary ministers, the minister may not bless the sick person but only may make the sign of the cross over himself and ask for a blessing upon both of them.

Based on these statements, the practice of extraordinary ministers giving blessings during Holy Communion does not appear to be in keeping with Church law.


Catholic Answers Staff