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Catholic Prayer: Book of Blessings: Blessing of an Engaged Couple

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195 Besides seeing to the upbringing of their children, Christian parents have the further serious responsibility, an exercise of their own apostolate, of helping the children to prepare themselves properly for marriage.

The betrothal of a young Christian couple therefore is a special occasion for their families, who should celebrate it together with prayer and a special rite. In this way they ask God's blessing that the happiness promised by the children's engagement will be brought to fulfillment.

In order that the celebration will better achieve its purpose, it should be adapted to suit the particular circumstances.

196 When the engagement is celebrated within the circle of the two families, one of the parents should preside. But when a priest or a deacon is present, the office of presiding more fittingly belongs to him (provided it is clear to all that the blessing is not the celebration of the sacrament of marriage itself).

197 The present order may be used by the parents, a priest, a deacon, or a lay minister. 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.

198 The present order may also be celebrated during the engagement period on an occasion when couples are brought together for premarital instruction. Neither a formal betrothal nor the special blessing of an engaged couple is ever to be combined with the celebration of Mass.

Prayer:

ORDER OF BLESSING

INTRODUCTORY RITES

199 When the families have 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.

200 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 our Lord Jesus Christ, who loved us and gave himself for us, be with you all.

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

201 A lay minister greets those present in the following words. Brothers and sisters, let us praise our Lord Jesus Christ, who loved us and gave himself for us. Let us bless him now and for ever.

R. Amen.

202 In the following or similar words, the minister prepares the couple and all present for the blessing. We know that all of us need God's blessing at all times; but at the time of their engagement to be married, Christians are in particular need of grace as they prepare themselves to form a new family.

Let us pray, then, for God's blessing to come upon this couple, our brother and sister: that as they await the day of their wedding, they will grow in mutual respect and in their love for one another; that through their companionship and prayer together they will prepare themselves rightly and chastely for marriage.

READING OF THE WORD OF GOD

203 One of those present or the minister reads a text of sacred Scripture. Brothers and sisters, listen to the words of the holy gospel according to John:

John 15:9-12 This is my commandment: love one another as I have loved you. Jesus said to his disciples: "As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and remain in his love.

"I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I love you."

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

13:4-13 There is no limit to love's forbearance, to its trust, its hope, its power to endure. Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, love is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails. If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing; if tongues, they will cease; if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing. For we know partially and we prophesy partially, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things. At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully as I am fully known. So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

205 Or: Hosea 2:21-26--I will espouse you in fidelity. Philippians 2:1-5--United in spirit and ideals.

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

R. The Lord is good to all.

Psalm 145 The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness. The LORD is good to all and compassionate toward all his works. R.

Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD, and let your faithful ones bless you. The eyes of all look hopefully to you, and you give them their food in due season. R.

The LORD is just in all his ways and holy in all his works. The LORD is near to all who call upon him, to all who call upon him in truth. R.

207 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 and its difference from the celebration of marriage.

INTERCESSIONS

208 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: God our Father has so loved us that in Christ he makes us his children and the witnesses to his love before the entire world. Let us, therefore, call upon him in all confidence, saying:

R. Lord, help us to remain always in your love.

Assisting minister: God our Father, you willed that your true children, brothers and sisters in Christ, should be known by their love for one another. R.

Assisting minister: You place upon us the sweet demands of love so that we may find happiness by responding to them. R.

Assisting minister: You join a man and a woman together by their love for each other, so that in the family they establish they may rejoice in children, the crown of their love. R.

Assisting minister: Through the paschal offering, Christ espoused the Church as his Bride and in his blood offered it to you, holy and immaculate. In this you have given us the ideal of the love that should exist between husband and wife in the sacrament of marriage. R.

Assisting minister: You call N. and N. to the communion of life and love that binds the Christian family together, mind and heart. R.

209 In accord with local custom, before the prayer of blessing, the engaged couple may express some sign of their pledge to each other, for example, by signing a document or by exchanging rings or gifts.

210 The engagement rings or gifts may be blessed by use of the following formulary.

In due course may you honor the sacred pledge symbolized by these gifts which you now exchange.

R. Amen.

PRAYER OF BLESSING

211 A lay minister says the following prayer of blessing with hands joined. A priest or deacon says the following prayer with hands outstretched.

We praise you, Lord, for your gentle plan draws together your children, N. and N., in love for one another. Strengthen their hearts, so that they will keep faith with each other, please you in all things, and so come to the happiness of celebrating the sacrament of their marriage.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.

212 Or a minister who is a priest or deacon may say the following prayer of blessing.

Lord God, the source of all love, the wise plan of your providence has brought these young people together. As they prepare themselves for the sacrament of marriage and pray for your grace, grant that, strengthened by your blessing, + they may grow in their respect for one another and cherish each other with a sincere love.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.

CONCLUDING RITE

213 The minister concludes the rite by saying: May the God of love and peace abide in you, guide your steps, and confirm your hearts in his love, now and for ever. R. Amen.

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

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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