Q: My congregation has the custom of having everyone extend hands in blessing over someone who is being blessed.
But they also do it during Confirmation, when the presider is calling down the Spirit on the Confirmands. Any comments?
A: I can’t point to any rubrics that allow for everyone to extend hands. But then it’s hard to find rubrics that expressly forbid it. If it’s a custom, I’d probably not make a big deal out of it. Another solution is not to invite it, but let it go if it happens.
The Vatican did ask the faithful not to say words or perform gestures that are proper to priests: http://www.vatican.
va/roman_curia/pontifical_ councils/laity/documents/rc_ con_interdic_doc_15081997_en. html. Article 6 is the section that deals with the liturgy, and it probably refers primarily to the eucharistic prayer.
At confirmations, priests are supposed to extend their hands for the confirmation prayer. It doesn’t hurt anything if others do it, but it’s probably not something a presider should request – especially if some people at mass feel awkward about it.