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Catholic Prayer: Book of Blessings: Order for the Blessing of a Family

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42 The celebration of the blessing provided here is a suitable means of fostering the Christian life in the members of a family, whenever a blessing is requested by the family or suggested by pastoral considerations. To ensure that the celebration serves its purpose, it is to be adapted to each individual situation.

43 The blessing of a family may also be carried out within Mass, by use of the order provided in nos. 62-67.

44 The present order may be used by a priest or deacon. It may also be used by a layperson, who follows the rites and prayers designated for a lay minister.

45 While maintaining the structure and chief elements of the rite, the minister should adapt the celebration to the circumstances of the place and the people involved.

Prayer:

A. ORDER OF BLESSING

INTRODUCTORY RITES

46 When the family has gathered, the minister says: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

All make the sign of the cross and reply: Amen.

47 A minister who is a priest or deacon greets those present in the following or other suitable words, taken mainly from sacred Scripture. The grace and peace of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

All make the following or some other suitable reply. And also with you.

Or: Blessed be God for ever.

48 A lay minister greets those present in the following words. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us all, now and for ever.

R. Amen.

49 In the following or similar words, the minister prepares those present for the blessing.

My dear friends, from the sacrament of marriage the family has received newness of life and the grace of Christ. The family is specially important to the Church and to civil society, for it is the primary life-giving community.

In our celebration today we call down the Lord's blessing upon you, so that you may continually be instruments of God's grace to one another and witnesses to faith in all the circumstances of life.

With God as your help you will fulfill your mission by conforming your entire life to the Gospel and so witness to Christ before the world.

READING OF THE WORD OF GOD

50 One of those present or the minister reads one of the following texts of sacred Scripture.

Brothers and sisters, listen to the words of the first letter of Paul to the Corinthians:

12:12-14 We are all one body. As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit. Now the body is not a single part, but many.

51 Or:

Brothers and sisters, listen to the words of the apostle Paul to the Ephesians:

4:1-6 Bear with one another lovingly. I, then, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace: one body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

52 Or:

Romans 12:4-16--Love each other with mutual affection. 1 Corinthians 12:31b-13:7--Love is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes.

53 As circumstances suggest, the following responsorial psalm may be sung or said, or some other suitable song.

R. Happy are those who fear the Lord. Psalm 128 Happy are you who fear the LORD, who walk in his ways! For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork; happy shall you be, and favored. R.

Behold, thus is the man blessed who fears the LORD. The LORD bless you from Zion: may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life; May you see your children's children. R.

54 As circumstances suggest, the minister may give those present a brief explanation of the biblical text, so that they may understand through faith the meaning of the celebration.

INTERCESSIONS

55 The intercessions are then said. The minister introduces them and an assisting minister or one of those present announces the intentions. From the following intentions those best suited to the occasion may be used or adapted, or other intentions that apply to the particular circumstances may be composed.

The minister says: Christ the Lord, the Word coeternal with the Father, lived among us and chose to be part of a family and to enrich it with his blessings. Let us humbly ask for his favor and protection on this family.

R. Lord, keep our family in your peace.

Or: R. Lord, hear our prayer.

Assisting minister: Through your own obedience to Mary and Joseph you consecrated family life; make this family holy by your presence. (For this we pray:) R.

Assisting minister: Your heart was set on the concerns of your Father; make every home a place where he is worshiped with reverence. (For this we pray:) R.

Assisting minister: You made your own family the model of prayer, of love, and of obedience to your Father's will; by your grace make this family holy and make it rich with your gifts. (For this we pray:) R.

Assisting minister: You loved those who were close to you and they returned your love; bind all families together in the bonds of peace and of love for each other. (For this we pray:) R.

Assisting minister: At Cana in Galilee, when a new family was beginning, you gladdened it with your first miracle, changing water into wine; alleviate the sorrows and worries of this family and change them into joy. (For this we pray:) R.

Assisting minister: In your concern for the integrity of your family you said: “Let no one separate those whom God has bound together”; bind this husband and wife ever more closely together in the bond of your own love. (For this we pray:) R.

56 After the intercessions, the minister, in the following or similar words, invites all present to sing or say the Lord’s Prayer: Let us pray with confidence to the Father in the words our Savior taught us:

All: Our Father...

PRAYER OF BLESSING

57 A minister who is a priest or deacon says the prayer of blessing with hands outstretched over the family members; a lay minister says the prayer with hands joined.

O God, you have created us in love and saved us in mercy, and through the bond of marriage you have established the family and willed that it should become a sign of Christ’s love for his Church.

Shower your blessings on this family gathered here in your name. Enable those who are joined by one love to support one another by their fervor of spirit and devotion to prayer. Make them responsive to the needs of others and witnesses to the faith in all they say or do.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.

58 Or: We bless your name, O Lord, for sending your own incarnate Son to become part of a family, so that, as he lived its life, he would experience its worries and its joys.

We ask you, Lord, to protect and watch over this family, so that in the strength of your grace its members may enjoy prosperity, possess the priceless gift of your peace, and, as the Church alive in the home, bear witness in this world to your glory.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.

59 As circumstances suggest, the minister in silence may sprinkle the family with holy water.

CONCLUDING RITE

60 The minister concludes the rite by saying:

May the Lord Jesus, who lived with his holy family in Nazareth, dwell also with your family, keep it from evil, and make all of you one in heart and mind.

R. Amen.

61 It is preferable to end the celebration with a suitable song.

B. ORDER OF BLESSING WITHIN MASS

62 With due respect for the requirements of law, the priest who plans the Mass should readily make use of options in selecting various parts of the Mass, especially so that these serve the spiritual well-being of the family members. When the blessing of the family is carried out within a Mass celebrated at the family's home, the rite must be arranged in accord with the principles and provisions of the Instruction on Masses with small groups, Actio pastoralis (See endnote 2), or, where applicable, of the Directory for Masses with Children(See endnote 3). The celebration should also include appropriate comments on the rites.

63 After the gospel reading, the celebrant in the homily gives those present an explanation of the biblical text and of the graces belonging to family life and of the mission of the family in the life of the Church.

GENERAL INTERCESSIONS

64 The general intercessions follow, either in the form usual at Mass or in the form given here. The celebrant concludes the general intercessions with the prayer of blessing, unless it is thought better to have the prayer of blessing at the end of Mass as a prayer over the people. The celebrant introduces the intercessions and an assisting minister or one of those present announces the intentions. From the following intentions those best suited to the occasion may be used or adapted, or other intentions that apply to the family and the particular circumstances may be composed.

The celebrant says: Christ the Lord, the Word coeternal with the Father, lived among us and chose to be part of a family and to enrich it with his blessings. Let us humbly ask for his favor and protection on this family.

R. Lord, keep our family in your peace.

Or: R. Lord, hear our prayer.

Assisting minister: Through your own obedience to Mary and Joseph you consecrated family life; make this family holy by hour presence. (For this we pray:) R.

Assisting minister: Your heart was set on the concerns of your Father; make every home a place where he is worshiped with reverence. (For this we pray:) R.

Assisting minister: You made your own family the model of prayer, of love, and of obedience to your Father’s will; by your grace make this family holy and make it rich with your gifts. (For this we pray:) R.

Assisting minister: You loved those who were close to you and they returned your love; bind all families together in the bonds of peace and of love for each other. (For this we pray:) R.

Assisting minister: At Cana in Galilee, when a new family was beginning, you gladdened it with your first miracle, changing water into wine; alleviate the sorrows and worries of this family and change them into joy. (For this we pray:) R.

Assisting minister: In your concern for the integrity of the family you said: “Let no one separate those whom God has bound together”; bind this husband and wife ever more closely together in the bond of your own love. (For this we pray:) R.

PRAYER OF BLESSING

65 With hands outstretched over the family members, the celebrant continues with the prayer of blessing.

O God, you have created us in love and saved us in mercy, and through the bond of marriage you have established the family and willed that it should become a sign of Christ's love for his Church.

Shower your blessings on this family gathered here in your name. Enable those who are joined by one love to support one another by their fervor of spirit and devotion to prayer. Make them responsive to the needs of others and witnesses to the faith in all they say and do.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.

66 Or: We bless your name, O Lord, for sending your own incarnate Son to become part of a family, so that, as he lived its life, he would experience its worries and its joys.

We ask you, Lord, to protect and watch over this family, so that in the strength of your grace its members may enjoy prosperity, possess the priceless gift of your peace, and, as the Church alive in the home, bear witness in this world to your glory.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.

67 But as an alternative, if this seems more opportune, the prayer of blessing may be used at the end of Mass after the following or some other invitation: Bow your heads and pray for God's blessing.

After the prayer of blessing, the celebrant always adds: And may almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, + and the Holy Spirit. R. Amen.

Endnotes: 2. Congregation for Divine Worship, 15 May 1969: AAS 61(1969), pp. 806-811; English tr., International Commission on English in the Liturgy, Documents on the Liturgy, 1963-1979: Conciliar, Papal, and Curial Texts (hereafter DOL), The Liturgical Press (Collegeville, Minn., 1982), nos. 2120-2133. 3. Congregation for Divine Worship, 1 November 1973: AAS 66 (1974), pp. 30-46; English tr., DOL,. nos. 2134-2188.

Prayer Source: Book of Blessings by Prepared by International Commission on English in the Liturgy A Joint Commission of Catholic Bishops' Conferences, The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota, 1989
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