Category Archives: Sacred Liturgy & Sacraments

Blessing of Candles on Candlemas

The Blessing of Candles

Candlemas.jpg
V. Our help is in the name of the Lord.
R. Who made heaven and earth.
V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with your spirit.
Let us pray.
O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, bless + these candles at our request. By the power of the holy cross, + bestow a heavenly blessing on them, O Lord, Who did give them to mankind to dispel the gloom. Empowered with the seal of Your holy cross, + let the spirits of darkness depart trembling and fly in fear from all places where their light shines, and never more disturb nor molest [bother] those who serve You, the almighty God, Who lives and reigns forevermore.
R. Amen.
Sprinkle with holy water.

Dwindling pastoral care for the sick

Interesting issues regarding the pastoral care of the sick viz. the numbers of priests available to be sacramentally present. USA Today a story that deserves some attention. Catholics are sacramental people: no priesthood, no sacraments…

On the same page as the story noted above is a video clip of Father Denis Robinson, OSB, Rector of Saint Meinrad Seminary talking about the up-tick of vocations.

Blessing of Icons, too

Blessing with holy water.jpgLast week Father Michael Morris (of the Seminary faculty) blessed an icon for me. This week, another similar service was done by Economos Romanus Russo, an adjunct professor at Saint Joseph’s Seminary and pastor of Saint Michael’s Russian Byzantine Chapel (266 Mulberry St, NYC).

Some are of the opinion that icons need not be blessed because they hold a holy image of Our Lord, the Virgin or an angel or saint. But because an order of blessing exists in the liturgical books from time immemorial, the mind of the Church indicates that holy images are in fact blessed by the proper minister and according to a rite.

Anointing the Icon.jpg

The blessing of icons takes on a similar theological/liturgical sensibility as Christian Initiation where the person to be baptized is washed, anointed and receives Holy Communion. Hence, the icons today were blessed by holy water, anointed with sacred Myron (Chrism) and the Eucharistic ciborium was touched to each icon. We now have a fully initiated icon that leads us to Christ and the Mystery of the Holy Trinity. Economos Romanus then. in giving the icon back to the owner, blessed the man who in turn kissed the icon.
The ritual prayers were the same as used previously (see the link above).

Blessing with Eucharist.jpg

Icons are visible gospels. The icon is an experience of the beauty of God revealing the divine order of things. In history the first icon not made of human hands was the body of Jesus Christ. Following Divine action, the iconographer cooperates with God in creation and reveals to us the reality of Jesus’ humanity. The iconographer is also a theologian because he or she writes for us the dogmas of Christian belief–the reasons and pathways for our salvation.
The stipend for Economos’s spiritual solicitude is that each time we pray before the icon we pray for him and his family, forever. Deal.

St Maurus’ Blessing of the Sick


St Placid2.jpgToday is the feast of the first companions of Saint Benedict of Norcia, Saints Maurus and Placid. The traditional blessing of the sick calling upon Saint Maurus’ intercession follows. You may not have a relic of the True Cross or relic of Saint Benedict to you available to you, so the priest should use a crucifix and the Saint Benedict Medal.

 Before the blessing is imparted, the relic of the true Cross of our Lord or the medal of Saint Benedict is exposed, at least two candles having been lit. The Act of Contrition and firm confidence should then be excited in the sick person, so that through the merits and intercession of Saint Benedict and Saint Maurus, if it should please God, health may be obtained. Three Our Fathers, Hail Marys and Glory be’s are recited in honor of the Blessed Trinity.

Then a priest or deacon, having put on a stole, and with his right hand holding up the relic or the medal of Saint Benedict before the sick person, says the following prayers:

V. Benediction and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, honor and power and strength to our God forever and ever.
R. Amen.

V. My foot has stood in the direct way.
R. In the churches I will bless You, O Lord.

Invocation

Through the invocation of the most holy name of the Lord may that faith, in which St. Maurus, by employing the words of this blessing, healed the sick, and in which I, though an unworthy sinner, utter the selfsame words, restore your health as you desire:

In the name of the most holy and undivided Trinity and supported by the merits of the most holy Father Benedict, I bid you, N., to rise, stand upon your feet and be cured, in the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit.

R. Amen.

Antiphon

Surely He has borne our infirmities and carried our sorrows: by His bruises we are healed.

V. He that forgives the iniquities of his creatures.
R. May He heal your infirmities.

V. O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come to You.

V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with your spirit.

Let us pray

O God, the Creator, of all things, You ordained that Your only Son should take flesh of the Virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit for the restoration of your people and You deigned to heal the wounds and infirmities of our souls by the redemption accomplished upon the sacred and glorious wood of the life-giving Cross: do You also vouchsafe through this powerful sign to restore health to Your servant N.

Through the same Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.

Let us pray

Lord Jesus Christ, You conferred upon the master, blessed Benedict, the privilege of obtaining from You whatsoever he might ask in Your name: vouchsafe, through his intercession, to heal all the infirmities of this Your servant: in order that, being restored to health, he (she) may give thanks to Your holy name.

You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever.

R. Amen.

The Blessing

Through the invocation of the Immaculate Mother of God and ever Virgin Mary, and the intercession of Saints Benedict and Maurus, may the Power + of God the Father, the Wisdom + of God the Son, and the Strength + of the Holy Spirit free you from your infirmities. Amen.

May God’s holy will be done, and may it be done to you as you wish and pray, for the praise and honor of the most holy Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The priest then blesses the sick person with the relic of the Cross or the medal of St. Benedict saying:

May the blessing of Almighty God, of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit descend upon you and abide with you forever.

R. Amen.

The sick person then kisses the relic or the medal of St. Benedict.

This blessing, if need be, may be repeated three times; also three votive Masses may be celebrated, namely in honor of the Passion, of St. Maurus, Abbot, and for the Poor Souls; otherwise the fifteen decades of the Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary are to be prayed according to the aforesaid intentions by the sick person, or by others in the person’s name.

Blessing of Icons

Over the Christmas holiday I acquired an icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, written by Brother Terrence McGrath, OCSO, a monk of Saint Joseph’s Abbey, Spencer, Massachusetts. In the tradition of the Catholic Church, all icons (religious objects intended for devotion) ought to be properly blessed. The Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy teaches us:

The Church blesses sacred images because of their cultic significance. This is especially true of the images of the Saints which are destined for public veneration, when she prays that, guided by a particular Saint, “we may progress in following the footsteps of Christ, so that the perfect man may be formed in us to the full measure of Christ.” (244)

Today, Father Michael Morris, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York and history professor of Saint Joseph’s Seminary (Dunwoodie-Yonkers, NY) properly blessed the icon.

The Blessing of Icons follows:

Priest:   Blessed is our God always, both now and ever, and unto ages of ages:

Server: Amen.

Priest: Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy Immortal One, Have mercy upon us.

Priest:

Fr MMorris blessing BVM Icon Jan 14 2010.jpg

O Lord our God, Who created us after Your own image and likeness; Who redeems us from our former corruption of the ancient curse through Your man-befriending Christ, Who took upon Himself the form of a servant and became man; Who having taken upon Himself our likeness remade Your Saints of the first dispensation, and through Whom also we are refashioned in the image of Your pure blessedness; Your Saints we venerate as being in Your image and likeness, and we adore and glorify You as our Creator; Wherefore we pray You, send forth Your blessing upon this Icon, and with the sprinkling of hallowed water.

Bless and make holy this icon untoYour glory, in honor and remembrance of Your Saint (N) [or, Mother of God]; And grant that this sanctification will be to all who venerate this icon of Saint (N) [or, Mother of God], and send up their prayer unto You standing before it; Through the grace and bounties and love of Your Only-Begotten Son, with Whom You are blessed together with Your All-Holy, Good and Life-creating Spirit; both now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

 Server:  Amen.

Sprinkling cross fashion the icon with holy water, he says:

Hallowed and blessed is this icon of St. (N) [or, Mother of God], by the Grace of the Holy Spirit, through the sprinkling of Holy Water: in the Name of the Father (+), and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: (+), Amen.

Priest: Let us pray to the Lord.

Server: Kyrie eleison.

Priest:

O God our Savior, Who did deign to enter under the roof of Zacchaeus, unto salvation of the same and of all that were in the house; Do you, the same Lord, keep safe also from harm them who now desire to dwell here, And who, together with us unworthy ones, do offer unto You prayer and supplication: Bless this (+) their home and dwelling, and preserve their life free from all adversity; For unto You are due all glory, honor and worship, as also unto Your Eternal Father, and Your All Holy, Good and life-creating Spirit; both now and ever, and unto ages of ages:

Server:  Amen.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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