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From a reader:
I am a Southern Baptist woman ( born and raised). I have been listening to EWTN For a year and attending Mass since Christmas. I had not gone down for a blessing until Easter at the suggestion by the “cradle Catholics” around me. After reading your blog today, I am confused. Is it wrong for Adults who are journeying to conversion to receive a blessing during Communion? Should I wait until I complete RCIA next Easter? I don’t mind waiting; I also don’t want those around me to think I am not sincere in my journey. Catholicism is so different. I keep a dictionary and Catholic Encyclopedia at hand.
Please advise. thanks.
I, too, am a convert. I can understand both your confusion and your desire to do the right thing.
We really drill into questions on this blog. We veteran, battle-hardened Catholics can get deep into details and particulars, thus leaving the less-schooled scratching their heads.
First, be at ease. You haven’t done anything wrong by not going up for a blessing and, even if you had gone up, you wouldn’t have done anything wrong. Relax about this. On the scale of “Catholic Things We Really Need To Fix”, this is not one of the very most pressing. Communion in the hand is a more urgent problem by far, but I digress.
According to the Church’s liturgical laws, Communion time is for Communion. Doing something other than what the liturgical rites prescribe during Mass is not permitted. The Communion portion of Mass is governed by the rubrics, rules, just like every other part of Mass. Priests and others have no authority to change those rubrics on their own. They shouldn’t be giving blessings during Communion time. This is, nevertheless a wide-spread practice. In my opinion, all those people going up for a blessing, with good will and in good faith, are not doing anything wrong. I and others think (correctly) that the practice should be ended and people should be given the whys and wherefores. Ending it should be accompanied by lot of instruction and it should be ended through a careful and kind process.
You can ALWAYS ask the priest when you see him for a blessing outside of Mass! I am sure he will be pleased to give you one.
And if Father ever says that you can just come up at at Communion time for a blessing, you can smile, and thank him, and think to yourself, “I know something you don’t know.”