Names at Communion? Survey says “NO”

We asked, “Should the Communion minister say your name (if they know it) when offering you Holy Communion?? We got 608 responses at all our various media, and the result was a resounding “NO.” Only 22% voted “YES.”

The written responses were thoughtful and interesting.

Here is a sampling of NO responses:

I wish I could stuff the ballot box full of NO. See also: Should the priest begin with the sign of the cross or with, “Hey, good morning! How’s everyone doing today? You’ll never guess what I saw on my way to church today…”  |  While well-intentioned, it separates worshipers into the country club in-crowd and the outsiders.  |  I believe in being friendly and hospitable, but I don’t see how this specific action adds anything to the Mass, other than a perception that some people are more welcome than others.  |  Addressing someone by name in a ritual context can come with the residue of an assertion of possession and jurisdiction.  | It depends on the tradition. Roman tradition: No. Byzantine tradition: Yes.   In the Lutheran tradition the minister of communion says ” The Body of Christ given for you” ” The Blood of Christ shed for you”. Very personal but not too much.  |  When you add things to the rite, you are always at risk of straying from or limiting what the Church intends to do with the ritual. Don’t futz with it.  |  In some way the ‘personalizing’ is also a de-ritualizing of the ritual.  |  I see it more as an acclamation/response and not a conversation.  |  It is not about me and the person receiving communion. It is about that person and the assembly as celebrant. Using a person’s name can make it about me and them.  |  Last time I checked, communion is supposed to be accompanied by a hymn or chant. In the midst of that song, will you indeed hear what the minister says to the person in front of you? Especially if you are singing yourself?  |  The words ” The body of Christ” refer to the Eucharistic species, the person giving, the person receiving, the entire Eucharistic assembly, and the Eucharistic action. To put a name after it limits the Eucharistic presence, and excludes anyone whose name is not known to the minister.  |  Not necessary – my huge, welcoming smile is more than sufficient.

But some respondents like the practice, at least in some circumstances, and pushed back against the NO comments:

The legalism here is … mind-boggling.  |  We’re family in our parish, so why not?  |  Feeding another person is an intimate act. It is not impersonal, nor is it meant to be.   |  We use names when people are baptized, confirmed, exchange wedding vows. If I am a visitor at a parish, I would not expect the minister to know my name, and so would not be offended.  | If I see someone who is obviously a religious  –  a nun or a deacon –  I will try to say “Body of Christ, Sister…” etc.  |  I say the person’s name only when I am on a home Communion visit with a shut-in.   Yes in a home mass setting where you might know all people present.

There there was this:

You are receiving the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ. It is between you and God.

Sorry, but no to the second part. Go read St. Paul please. Or Thomas Aquinas.

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