Can Laypeople Bless Religious Articles?

Dear Catholic Exchange:

Is it canonically possible for a layperson to "bless" a religious article, i.e., a rosary, a Miraculous Medal, etc. in the home and is there an approved "book of blessings" available?

In Christ,

Ben Nasca
Santa Ana, CA


Dear Ben,

Peace in Christ!

Sacramentals derive from the baptismal priesthood: every baptized person is called to be a "blessing" and to bless. Hence, lay people may preside at certain blessings; the more a blessing concerns ecclesial and sacramental life, the more is its administration reserved to the ordained ministry (bishops, priests, or deacons). (CCC no.1669)

The "Book of Blessings" is published by Congregation for Divine Worship and promulgated into law with apostolic authority (i.e., "the Vatican says so" — see Decree). It says that lay persons "may celebrate certain blessings, as indicated in the respective orders of blessings" (no.18). Examples of blessings that may be administered by lay people are the orders for the blessing of a family (no. 44), blessing of children (no.136), blessing of sons and daughters (176), blessing of engaged couples — (no.197), blessing of parents before childbirth (no.217), and so on. Some of these orders stipulate that when a priest or deacon is present, the ministry of the blessing more fittingly belongs to him (no. 176).

The Order for the Blessing of Rosaries stipulates that a priest or deacon may bless rosaries (no.1465).

United in the Faith,

Eric Stoutz
Information Specialist
Catholics United for the Faith
827 North Fourth Street
Steubenville, OH 43952
800-MY-FAITH (800-693-2484)

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  • Guest

    can a mother fill in the role of the father if the father is absent?
    In many ways the answer is yes but because a mother is not a father it really isn’t the same.

    Likewise the Proper role of the priest is blessing and leadership. Even when it is perfectly normal for a layperson to bless or lead ( for instance the saying of table grace). It is perfered that the priest if present should be given that honor and duty.

    so my opinion is:
    Sacramentals SHOULD be blessed by a priest. I do not think this precludes ( for instance in countries where priest are hard to find) the use of the sacramental before it is blessed , but the best way and normal form is to seek the blessing of the priest. Especially on important spirtial endavors and items.

  • Guest

    When a priest friend comes to us for dinner I ask him to say grace before the meal. He often suggests the Head of the House should do it. So I then ask my wife.

    God bless,

    In necessariis, unitas; in dubiis, libertas; in omnibus, caritas.

  • Guest

    Thank you, Noel! I loved it!
    As for blessings, you and fishman both missed the point. Yes, sacramentals should ordinarily be blessed by a priest or deacon. Get it done, no matter how hard they are to “corner”!
    However, there are blessings that normally are the provence of the laity. For instance, my grandchildren are rarely taken to church, and when they are, it’s to a Protestant church. Better something than nothing. When I visit, I never fail to make the sign of the cross on their foreheads when they go to bed and ask God to give them a good rest, sweet dreams, and a good next day. The eldest is pushing 18 and I think he’d prefer that I stop, but, until he asks me, I plan to keep on blessing. If the grandchildren have an over-night guest, I always ask the guest if I can bless him or her, too. So far, I’ve never been turned down.

  • Guest

    I think the point is that an article (Rosary, Bible, food) is not more or lessed blessed by a person than by, say, a Deacon or Priest.  I have been told as such.  But I understand the wanting of a religious to do it.  It seems to make the item more "holy".  Although I think that every thing we have (Sacramental or otherwise) should be blessed by as many people as possible!  Priests don't have the market cornered on blessing things – or even such miracles as healing.  Laity cannot consecrate or absolve, baptise, etc., but we can do all the signs and wonders worked through us by the Holy Spirit.


    Bless away!

  • Guest

    I must be missing something here with the prior postings. First off the head of the household is THE FATHER otherwise the scripture is being called into question. Secondly, a priestly blessing does not signify that the priest has "a corner on the market." It has nothing to do with the person of the priest, however it has everything to do with the Holy Orders he recieved and that he is another Christ! Christ works through him and we deny this if we think we can do it ourselves because no priest is available. A priest is not being humble by having a lay person do the blessings. This is false humility and a form of pride as he is denying Christ works through Holy Orders. Do not down play the powers or graces given to the priest through Holy Orders. We can NOT take upon ourselves what Christ intended in priesthood. It will never be the same even if we can't find a priest. We can never change bread and wine into the Eucharist, or forgive sins, etc.. Ave Maria!

  • Guest

    Technically, the laity CAN baptize.  However, the ORDINARY means is through the priest or deacon.  But in cases of emergency (i.e. eminent death, and no priest/deacon around), the laity can baptize. 

  • Guest

    The difference between the Priesthood of the ordained and of the layman is not one of degree, but of kind (Pope Pius XI).  That is to say it is substantially different.  In practical terms, it can be described this way:  The blessing of the layman is the blessing of their state of grace (not to be minimized objectively), while the blessing of the priest is a blessing (or a washing) in the blood of Christ.  With this in mind, it would seem obvious which blessing I would want and the Church would require for most sacramentals.  (Of course, there is also the liturgical aspect of sacramentals as well.)

      On the other hand, the Father is the priest of his own household, and it would not be false humility for the priest to defer to him at grace before meals.  The priesthood and fatherhood go all the way back to Adam together, and Christ has now not only renewed it in the order of the firstborn of Melchisedek, but elevated it in His person to His Divine Sonship, marking not only the completion of the mission of Man (male and female), but also the transition point into Eternity.  The good to be derived from the blessing is not the dignity of office, but the transforming power of Christ.  Those of us who do not share in the distribution of this transforming grace by virtue of Orders, still exercise our priesthood in Christ through prayer and sacrifice and holiness of person. 

  • Guest

    Cooky642: Thank you for that! Today in mass Father suggested that we do this when our children are sleeping…make the sign of the cross on their foreheads and call them by name and tell them that they are a child of God. I loved it so much, I did it several times. My daughter blushed, but recieved it none-the-less. My son loved it and did it back, joyfully.

    If I can remember, I would love to imitate your blessing…it seems eccentric to some, but we are eccentric to the world anyway. So why not something to bless out loud and openly, with much love?Laughing

  • Guest

    My wife and I often bless our children, out loud, calling on the graces from their Baptism and our Holy Matrimony, as well as all of our Guardian Angels and, of course, the Holy Spirit.

    It is effective!

  • Guest

    God loves you .

    Ahh – blessings! I love to mark children on their foreheads with a cross, and smile into their beautiful faces. I wonder which of us is really getting blessed.

    I have an old-world Polish pastor. What a delightful man. But, you have to be careful. He is known to keep a ‘bucket’ of holy water near the altar, with this big hyssop branch in it. He blesses in showers! And, he never fails to pronounce heart warming blessings on the bearer as well as the sacramental.

    As PTR notes, blessings are prayers with great effect. For the moment, the one pronouncing and gesturing in blessing is ‘alter Christus’, and everyone can perceive God’s glory and pleasure.

    God bless you all, to His glory and our salvation.

    Remember, I love you, too .

    In the Suffering of Christ, and in His hope of His Resurrection,

    Pristinus Sapienter

    (wljewell or …

  • Guest


         Pardon me for this, but I was just noticing the 642 on your nick and wondering if you had been in the Navy?  Keep on blessing. 🙂



  • Guest

    I'm glad to see that lay people can bless certain sacramentals.  When I pray the Liturgy of the Hours prayers, I light a candle of the liturgical color for the day.  The candles are small thin candles sold at a local organic food store that seem to be for New Age purposes – each candle is to be burned for a certain reason.  I think it's important to bless each candle before first lighting it to convert it for a Christian purpose.  So I've been doing it – I go through a lot of these candles, and I didn't see a need to keep running to a priest to have them blessed.

    I'm glad to see that my blessings have been legitimate.  Smile

  • Zoe

    I heard that children can not bless their parents…. that there is an order of authority in blessing….  one can bless “down”, not up.  Can a friend bless another friend?