In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q:  I would like to know how ministers are to treat those who don’t receive communion in the communion line. We have heard many things:  don’t touch them, can’t make the sign of the cross over them, simply say, God Bless you, etc.  What would be the best practice – thanks.


A: There are many ways to do this, but we have no guidelines from the Vatican, the USCCB or any other source. At communion minister training, I tell people that I distribute communion with my right hand, and, if a non-communicant comes forward, I trace the sign of the cross on their forehead with my left hand, saying nothing.

It is clearly not appropriate for a lay person to use the entire hand to make a blessing in the manner of a priest. I wish priests would not use their hand in blessing because I think that confuses the purpose of communion.

But there’s no rule.