Tony asked:

After mass but before the final blessing the priest will ask the congregation to extend out their hands in a blessing for someone that comes forward. I feel very uncomfortable doing this because I think the priest is the only one who can confer a blessing. Can you explain what we're doing when we extend our hands?

Fr. Vincent Serpa replied:

"... it's confusing and it tends to blur the significance of the priest's blessing. While anybody can give his own blessing, parents can bless their children at night when they go to bed, but it's their blessing. When the priest gives a blessing it's Christ blessing us, so it's a big difference. What he's doing is not helping the matter. I'm sure his intentions are good, and it's good that people pray for each other, but at mass this is liturgy. This is the most important actions we do and they are divine actions because they're instituted by God himself. So at the end of mass the priest is the one who is supposed to give the blessing, and actually it is Christ giving the blessing through him. That should not be blurred because it is so special."


Catholic Answers, "The Chaplain is in" (San Diego: Catholic Answers, 2014)

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Show air date: January 22, 2014

Name of show: The Chaplain is in

Guest comments by: Fr. Vincent Serpa

Question appeared in show: 20:43

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