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Catholic Prayer: Book of Blessings: Blessing of Pilgrims

Description:

590 Whether in a traditional or a modern form, a pilgrimage to a holy place, to the tomb of a saint, or to a shrine should be regarded as having pastoral value. Pilgrimages are occasions for conversion, spiritual growth, and the advance of the apostolate.

591 The proper, that is, spiritual, character of the Christian pilgrimage must be carefully explained and inculcated ahead of time, so that the pilgrims will truly be "traveling heralds of Christ" (see endnote 24) and will experience fully the good effects of their pilgrimage.

592 For such pastoral purposes it will often be useful to arrange a special celebration for the blessing of the pilgrims at their departure or on their return.

593 When, instead, the celebration of Mass, the liturgy of the hours, or some other liturgical service is preferred as the beginning or end of a pilgrimage, the celebration may be concluded with a blessing of the pilgrims taken from the orders in this chapter.

594 The present order may be used by a priest or deacon. While maintaining the structure and chief elements of the rite, the celebrant should adapt the celebration to the circumstances of the place and the people involved.

Endnote: 24. Vatican Council II, Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity Apostolicam actuositatem, no. 14.

Prayer:

I. ORDER FOR THE BLESSING OF PILGRIMS ON THEIR DEPARTURE

INTRODUCTORY RITES

595 When the group of pilgrims has gathered, Psalm 122 or some other suitable song may be sung. After the singing, the celebrant 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.

596 The celebrant greets those present in the following or other suitable words, taken mainly from sacred Scripture. May God, our strength and salvation, be with you all.

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

597 In the following or similar words, the celebrant prepares those present for the blessing. Brothers and sisters, as we set out, we should remind ourselves of the reasons for our resolve to go on this holy pilgrimage. The place we intend to visit is a monument to the devotion of the people of God. They have gone there in great numbers to be strengthened in the Christian way of life and to become more determined to devote themselves to the works of charity. We must also try to bring something to the faithful who live there: our example of faith, hope, and love. In this way both they and we will be enriched by the help we give each other.

READING OF THE WORD OF GOD

598 A reader, another person present, or the celebrant reads a text of sacred Scripture. Brothers and sisters, listen to the words of the second letter of Paul to the Corinthians:

5:6-10 We are away from the Lord. So we are always courageous, although we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we. walk by faith, not by sight. Yet we are courageous, and we would rather leave the body and go home to the Lord. Therefore, we aspire to please him, whether we are at home or away. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive recompense, according to what he did in the body, whether good or evil.

599 Or: Isaiah 2:2-5--Let us walk in the light of the Lord. Luke 2:41-51--They went up to Jerusalem for the celebration as was their custom. Luke 24:13-35--Jesus approached and began to walk along with them. Hebrews 10:19-25--Let us draw near in utter sincerity and absolute confidence. 1 Peter 2:4-12--As strangers and in exile.

600 As circumstances suggest, one of the following responsorial psalms may be sung or said, or some other suitable song.

R. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.

Psalm 24 The LORD's are the earth and its fullness; the world and those who dwell in it. For he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers. R.

Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD or who may stand in his holy place? He whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean, who desires not what is vain. R.

He shall receive a blessing from the LORD, a reward from God his savior. Such is the race that seeks for him, that seeks the face of the God of Jacob. R.

Psalm 27:1, 4, 13-14 R. (see v. 4) One thing I seek: to dwell in the house of the Lord.

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

INTERCESSIONS

602 The intercessions are then said. The celebrant 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 celebrant says: God is the beginning and the end of life's pilgrimage. Let us call on him with confidence, saying:

R. Lord, be the companion of our journey.

Or: R. Lord, hear our prayer.

Assisting minister: Father all-holy, of old you made yourself the guide and the way for your people as they wandered in the desert; be our protection as we begin this journey, so that we may return home again in safety. (For this we pray:) R.

Assisting minister: You have given us your only Son to be our way to you; make us follow him faithfully and unswervingly. (For this we pray:) R.

Assisting minister: You gave us Mary as the image and model for following Christ; grant that through her example we may live a new life. (For this we pray:) R.

Assisting minister: You guide your pilgrim Church on earth through the Holy Spirit; may we seek you in all things and walk always in the way of your commandments. (For this we pray:) R.

Assisting minister: You lead us along right and peaceful paths; grant that we may one day see you face to face in heaven. (For this we pray:) R.

PRAYER OF BLESSING

603 With hands outstretched, the celebrant continues with the prayer of blessing.

All-powerful God, you always show mercy toward those who love you and you are never far away for those who seek you. Remain with your servants on this holy pilgrimage and guide their way in accord with your will. Shelter them with your protection by day, give them the light of your grace by night, and, as their companion on the journey, bring them to their destination in safety.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.

CONCLUDING RITE

604 The celebrant concludes the rite by saying: May the Lord guide us and direct our journey in safety. R. Amen.

May the Lord be our companion along the way. R. Amen.

May the Lord grant that the journey we begin, relying on him, will end happily through his protection. R. Amen.

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

II. ORDER FOR THE BLESSING OF PILGRIMS BEFORE OR AFTER THEIR RETURN

INTRODUCTORY RITES

606 When the group of pilgrims has gathered, a suitable song may be sung, for example, Urbs Jerusalem beata, or some other song related to the place and circumstances of the pilgrimage. After the singing, the celebrant 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.

607 The celebrant greets those present in the following or other suitable words, taken mainly from sacred Scripture. May God, our hope and our strength, fill you with peace and with joy in the Holy Spirit. Glory to God now and for ever.

All make one of the following or some other suitable reply. Amen.

Or: Glory to God now and for ever.

608 In the following or similar words, the celebrant prepares those present for the blessing. Our pilgrimage has been a privileged period of grace given us by God. We who have come in trust t this holy place are moved with a new resolve to be renewed in heart.

The sanctuaries that we have visited are a sign of that house not built with hands, namely, the Body of Christ, in which we are the living stones built upon Christ, the cornerstone. As we return home, let us live up to the vocation God has given us: to be a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people God claims for his own, so that we may everywhere proclaim the goodness of him who called us from darkness into his marvelous light.

READING OF THE WORD OF GOD

609 A reader, another person present, or the celebrant reads a text of sacred Scripture. Brothers and sisters, listen to the words of the first book of Chronicles:

29:9-18 We stand before you as aliens, we are only your guests. The people rejoiced over these free-will offerings, which had been contributed to the LORD wholeheartedly. King David also rejoiced greatly.

Then David blessed the LORD in the presence of the whole assembly, praying in these words:

"Blessed may you be, O LORD, God of Israel our father, from eternity to eternity.

"Yours, O LORD, are grandeur and power, majesty, splendor, and glory. For all in heaven and on earth is yours; yours, O LORD, is the sovereignty; you are exalted as head over all.

"Riches and honor are from you, and you have dominion over all. In your right hand are power and might; it is yours to give grandeur and strength to all.

"Therefore, our God, we give you thanks and we praise the majesty of your name.

"But who am I, and who are my people, that we should have the means to contribute so freely? For everything is from you, and we only give you what we have received from you. For we stand before you as aliens: we are only your guests, like all our fathers. Our life on earth is like a shadow that does not abide. 0 LORD our God, all this wealth that we have brought together to build you a house in honor of your holy name comes from you and is entirely yours. I know, 0 my God, that you put hearts to the test and that you take pleasure in uprightness. With a sincere heart I have willingly given all these things, and now with joy I have seen your people here present also giving to you generously. 0 LORD, God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, keep such thoughts in the hearts and minds of your people forever, and direct their hearts toward you."

610 Or: Luke 24:28-35--They recounted what had happened on the road. John 5:1-15--Pick up your mat and walk. John 9:1-38--I left, and washed, and returned able to see. Acts 8:26-35--He had come on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and was returning home. Hebrews 13:12-21--Here we have no lasting city; we are seeking one which is to come.

611 As circumstances suggest, one of the following responsorial psalms may be sung or said, or some other suitable song.

R. How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord mighty God!

Psalm 84 My soul yearns and pines for the courts of the LORD. My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. R.

Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest in which she puts her young-- Your altars, 0 LORD of hosts, my king and my God! R.

Happy they who dwell in your house! continually they praise you. Happy the men whose strength you are! their hearts are set upon the pilgrimage. R.

When they pass through the valley of the mastic trees, they make a spring of it; the early rain clothes it with generous growth. They go from strength to strength; they shall see the God of gods in Zion. R.

Psalm 122:1-2, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9 R. (see v. 1) Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.

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

INTERCESSIONS

613 The intercessions are then said. The celebrant 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 celebrant says: The Lord of heaven willed that in Christ's humanity the fullness of divinity should dwell as in its temple. Let us pray to him, saying:

R. Look down from heaven, 0 Lord, and bless your people.

Or: R. Lord, hear our prayer.

Assisting minister: Father all-holy, in the Passover exodus you prefigured the blessed road of your people toward salvation; grant that in all the paths we follow we may remain wholeheartedly faithful to you. (For this we pray:) R.

Assisting minister: You set your Church in this world as a sanctuary from which the true light would shine for all to see; grant that many people will enter this sanctuary and walk in your ways. (For this we pray:) R.

Assisting minister: You have told us that here we have no lasting city; grant that we may always seek the city that is to come. (For this we pray:) R.

Assisting minister: You teach all the faithful to perceive the signs of your presence along all the pathways of life; grant that like the disciples of Emmaus we may come to recognize Christ as the companion of our journey and know him in the breaking of the bread. (For this we pray:) R.

PRAYER OF BLESSING

614 With hands outstretched, the celebrant continues with the prayer of blessing.

Blessed are you, 0 God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. From all races of the earth you have chosen a people dedicated to you, eager to do what is right. Your grace has moved the hearts of these, your friends, to love you more deeply and to serve you more generously. We ask you to bless them, so that they may tell of your wonderful deeds and give proof of them in their lives.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.

CONCLUDING RITE

615 The celebrant concludes the rite by saying:

May God, the Lord of heaven and earth, who so graciously has accompanied you on this pilgrimage, continue to keep you under his protection. R. Amen.

May God, who gathered all his scattered children in Christ Jesus, grant that you will be of one heart and one mind in Christ. R. Amen.

May God, whose goodness inspires in you all that you desire and achieve, strengthen your devotion by his blessing. R. Amen.

616 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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