To swallow a fly…

Earlier in the week Kathy Schiffer mentioned the old woman who swallowed a fly… and tomorrow is St Blaise day with the blessing of throats–which you would need if you swallowed a fly or a bee, and now Fr. Z posts here on what a priest is supposed to do if a creepy crawly of some sort gets into the chalice after the consecration. It seems the old books tell you what to do, and Fr. Z–with his usual attention to rather arcane detail outlines the process.

It all has to do with pins from maniples, drying and burning the poor creature and disposing of the cremains.

Which is much more mundane solution than that of a friend of mine who had a wasp zoom in the window and dive bomb into the chalice right after the consecration. The yellowjacket was mad as a hornet–if you like–and swimming around in circles. The astonished priest was also quite experienced as an exorcist, so almost without thinking he leaned over the chalice, closed his eyes and the stared at the offending insect and said, “In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, I command you to come out!”

At which point the insect leaped up from his swimming, out of the chalice, circled once to get his bearings and flew out the window.

Of course John the Baptist had another solution to pesky insects. He ate them with a delicate dressing of honey.

  • Can laity give the blessing of St. Blaise?

    Hi Father Dwight,
    We are a tad tired of the clergy in our parish delegating so many of their ministerial duties to us laity. When we want to be blessed, we want to be blessed by a priest!

    On St. Blaise day, they often give the candles to the Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist and then leave. Are the EMEs supposed to do this? CAN they??

    They give ashes on Ash Wed. Now we see them blessing little pre-first communion kids with the Eucharist or with their thumbs as if they were ordained. Women too.

    I hope you will have time to answer this, Fr. D.

    Thank you and God bless you for all your vocational yeses and generosity to the flock. And Happy Feast of Saint Blaise!
    A Sheep

  • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist are just that: extraordinary. They should only be used to distribute Holy Communion when numbers are overly large at Mass. They should not bless anyone or give any sign of giving a blessing. They should not lay hands on people’s heads, make the sign of the cross over them or bless them with holy water. Only ordained clergy may bless. However, with sacramentals like the healing prayer of St Blaise or imposing ashes–in which the form of words is not a blessing I believe it is licit for appointed lay persons to do so if numbers are large. However, it is still preferable for the clergy to do so.