Reflecting on 21 Centuries of Faith

What’s in a Blessing: Latin Rite Deacons

Well, I have survived the first week. Yep, you betcha! One week ago, by the grace of God the Father, Bishop Paul S. Loverde, ordinary of the Diocese of Arlington, counted me among the sixteen men he ordained to the Sacred Order of Deacons. I am still reflecting on the profundity of the day and what it means to be ontologically changed – that’s another post!

In the meantime, my assignment to St. Mary of Sorrows in Fairfax, started upon ordination. I served my first Divine Liturgy the day of ordination with my Bishop and then preached my first Mass the following day at St. Mary’s. Reflecting on the past week, I found it curious what most people requested (Hint: Look at the title of this post.) A large part of my public service this week has been to provide the People of God blessings. I have been asked to bless a countless number of people and articles – some weirder than others (Yes, I turned some of them down). To many Catholics, blessings make sense, but to non-Catholics (or non-sacramental churches) this liturgical action is a bit of a mystery.

Fr. John Hardon, SJ, in the Modern Catholic Dictionary, defines a blessing this way (separation of the definition by the author):

1. As found in Scripture, it means praise, the desire that good fortune go with a person or thing, dedication of a person or thing to God’s service and a gift.

2. In liturgical language a blessing is a ritual ceremony by which an authorized cleric in major orders sanctifies persons or things to divine service, or invokes divine favor on what he blesses. The Church’s ritual provides for over two hundred such blessings, some of which are reserved to bishops or members of certain religious institutes.

In colloquial terms, when someone says at work, home or with friends, “You are blessed,” they are referring to the first sense of the definition. But, what people ask for is found in the second sense of the definition. Clerics bless those objects which assist the individual in living a life of grace and drawing them closer to the Lord. This also includes setting apart people and objects to assist in the welfare of the People of God. The following are the blessings that a Deacon may administer:

Blessings Pertaining to Persons

  1. Order for the Blessing of a Family
  2. Order for the Annual Blessing of Families in Their Own Homes
  3. Order for the Blessing of a Married Couple outside Mass
  4. Order for the Blessing of Children
  5. Order for the Blessing of Sons and Daughters
  6. Order for the Blessing of an Engaged Couple
  7. Order for the Blessing of Parents before Childbirth
  8. Orders for the Blessing of a Mother before Childbirth and after Childbirth
  9. Order for the Blessing of Parents after a Miscarriage
  10. Order for the Blessing of Parents and an Adopted Child
  11. Order of Blessing on the Occasion of a Birthday
  12. Orders for the Blessing of Elderly People Confined to Their Homes
  13. Order for the Blessing of the Sick
  14. Order for the Blessing of a Person Suffering from Addiction or from Substance Abuse
  15. Order for the Blessing of a Victim of Crime or Oppression
  16. Order for the Blessing of Those Appointed as Catechists
  17. Order of Blessing for a Catechetical or Prayer Meeting
  18. Blessings of Catechumens
  19. Order for the Blessing of Students and Teachers
  20. Order for the Blessing of Ecumenical Groups
  21. Order for the Blessing of Organizations Concerned with Public Need
  22. Orders for the Blessing of Pilgrims
  23. Order for the Blessing of Travelers

Blessings Related to Buildings and to Various Forms of Human Activity

  1. Order for the Blessing of a New Building Site
  2. Order for the Blessing of a New Home
  3. Order for the Blessing of a New School or University
  4. Order for the Blessing of a New Library
  5. Order for the Blessing of a Parish Hall or Catechetical Center (by delegation from the pastor)
  6. Order for the Blessing of a New Hospital or Other Facility for the Care of the Sick
  7. Order for the Blessing of an Office, Shop, or Factory
  8. Order for the Blessing of Centers of Social Communication
  9. Order for the Blessing of a Gymnasium or a Field for Athletics
  10. Order for the Blessing of Various Means of Transportation
  11. Order for the Blessing of Boats and Fishing Gear
  12. Order for the Blessing of Technical Installations or Equipment
  13. Order for the Blessing of Tools or Other Equipment for Work Order for the Blessing of Animals
  14. Order for the Blessing of Fields and Flocks
  15. Order for the Blessing of Seeds at Planting Time
  16. Order for a Blessing on the Occasion of Thanksgiving for the Harvest
  17. Order for the Blessing of an Athletic Event
  18. Order for the Blessing Before and After Meals

Blessings of Objects that Are Designed or Erected for Use in Churches, either in the Liturgy or in Popular Devotions

  1. Order for the Blessing of a Repository for the Holy Oils
  2. Order for the Blessing of Articles for Liturgical Use (shorter rite outside Mass)
  3. Order for the Blessing of Holy Water outside Mass

Blessings of Articles Meant to Foster the Devotion of the Christian People

  1. Order for the Blessing of Religious Articles
  2. Order for the Blessing of Rosaries

Blessings Related to Feasts and Seasons

  1. Order for the Blessing of an Advent Wreath (outside Mass)
  2. Order for the Blessing of a Christmas Manger or Nativity Scene (outside Mass)
  3. Order for the Blessing of a Christmas Tree
  4. Order for the Blessing of Homes during the Christmas and Easter Seasons
  5. Order for the Blessing of Throats on the Feast of Saint Blaise
  6. Order for the Blessing and Distribution of Ashes
  7. Order for the Blessing of Saint Joseph’s Table (March 19)
  8. Order for the Blessing of Food for the First Meal of Easter
  9. Order for Visiting a Cemetery on All Souls Day, Memorial Day, or on the Anniversary of Death or Burial
  10. Order for the Blessing of Food for Thanksgiving Day
  11. Order for the Blessing of Food or Drink or Other Elements Connected with Devotion

Blessings for Various Needs and Occasions

  1. Order for the Blessing of Those Who Exercise Pastoral Service
  2. Order for the Blessing of Readers (with delegation by the pastor)
  3. Order for the Blessing of Altar Servers, Sacristans, Musicians, and Ushers (with delegation by the pastor)
  4. Order for the Commissioning of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (outside Mass, with delegation by the pastor)
  5. Order for the Blessing of Officers of Parish Societies (with delegation by the pastor)
  6. Order for a Blessing in Thanksgiving
  7. Order for a Blessing to be Used in Various Circumstances

Blessings Pertaining to Persons

Order for the Blessing of a Family

Order for the Annual Blessing of Families in Their Own Homes

Order for the Blessing of a Married Couple outside Mass

Order for the Blessing of Children

Order for the Blessing of Sons and Daughters

Order for the Blessing of an Engaged Couple

Order for the Blessing of Parents before Childbirth

Orders for the Blessing of a Mother before Childbirth and after Childbirth

Order for the Blessing of Parents after a Miscarriage

Order for the Blessing of Parents and an Adopted Child

Order of Blessing on the Occasion of a Birthday

Orders for the Blessing of Elderly People Confined to Their Homes

Order for the Blessing of the Sick

Order for the Blessing of a Person Suffering from Addiction or from Substance Abuse

Order for the Blessing of a Victim of Crime or Oppression

Order for the Blessing of Those Appointed as Catechists

Order of Blessing for a Catechetical or Prayer Meeting

Blessings of Catechumens

Order for the Blessing of Students and Teachers

Order for the Blessing of Ecumenical Groups

Order for the Blessing of Organizations Concerned with Public Need

Orders for the Blessing of Pilgrims

Order for the Blessing of Travelers

Blessings Related to Buildings and to Various Forms of Human Activity

Order for the Blessing of a New Building Site

Order for the Blessing of a New Home

Order for the Blessing of a New School or University

Order for the Blessing of a New Library

Order for the Blessing of a Parish Hall or Catechetical Center (by delegation from the pastor)

Order for the Blessing of a New Hospital or Other Facility for the Care of the Sick

Order for the Blessing of an Office, Shop, or Factory

Order for the Blessing of Centers of Social Communication

Order for the Blessing of a Gymnasium or a Field for Athletics

Order for the Blessing of Various Means of Transportation

Order for the Blessing of Boats and Fishing Gear

Order for the Blessing of Technical Installations or Equipment

Order for the Blessing of Tools or Other Equipment for Work Order for the Blessing of Animals

Order for the Blessing of Fields and Flocks

Order for the Blessing of Seeds at Planting Time

Order for a Blessing on the Occasion of Thanksgiving for the Harvest

Order for the Blessing of an Athletic Event

Order for the Blessing Before and After Meals

Blessings of Objects that Are Designed or Erected for Use in Churches, either in the Liturgy or in Popular Devotions

Order for the Blessing of a Repository for the Holy Oils

Order for the Blessing of Articles for Liturgical Use (shorter rite outside Mass)

Order for the Blessing of Holy Water outside Mass

Blessings of Articles Meant to Foster the Devotion of the Christian People

Order for the Blessing of Religious Articles

Order for the Blessing of Rosaries

Blessings Related to Feasts and Seasons

Order for the Blessing of an Advent Wreath (outside Mass)

Order for the Blessing of a Christmas Manger or Nativity Scene (outside Mass)

Order for the Blessing of a Christmas Tree

Order for the Blessing of Homes during the Christmas and Easter Seasons

Order for the Blessing of Throats on the Feast of Saint Blaise

Order for the Blessing and Distribution of Ashes

Order for the Blessing of Saint Joseph’s Table (March 19)

Order for the Blessing of Food for the First Meal of Easter

Order for Visiting a Cemetery on All Souls Day, Memorial Day, or on the Anniversary of Death or Burial

Order for the Blessing of Food for Thanksgiving Day

Order for the Blessing of Food or Drink or Other Elements Connected with Devotion

Blessings for Various Needs and Occasions

Order for the Blessing of Those Who Exercise Pastoral Service

Order for the Blessing of Readers (with delegation by the pastor)

Order for the Blessing of Altar Servers, Sacristans, Musicians, and Ushers (with delegation by the pastor)

Order for the Commissioning of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (outside Mass, with delegation by the pastor)

Order for the Blessing of Officers of Parish Societies (with delegation by the pastor)

Order for a Blessing in Thanksgiving

Order for a Blessing to be Used in Various Circumstances

One Response to What’s in a Blessing: Latin Rite Deacons

  1. Mrs. Nod says:

    Wait. There’s a list. I’ll take:

    a #1, #3, #5, #7, two #8s, and a baptism

    Okay, the baptism isn’t a blessing. But I thought I’d toss it in there anyway. (Remember the gift had ulterior motives :)

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