Blessing non-communicants

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: When non-communicants present themselves in line, what can a lay minister of holy communion do? They shouldn’t bless, right?


A: Well, here’s a post I wrote a few years ago, But I admit I’ve changed my practice since then.

An idea I picked up from another diocese is to say this to non-communicants: “Peace be with you.” I like this better for several reasons. It extends the theme of peace more deeply into the communion rite. It avoids anticipating the blessing at the end of Mass. It establishes a formula that clergy and lay ministers can both say. 

I generally am holding the host up, showing it to the communicant while saying, “The Body of Christ,” so I use the same gesture in this circumstance. I hold the host before the face of the non-communicant, say “Peace be with you,” and then they return to their place, awaiting the blessing with everyone else.