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Catholic Prayer: Book of Blessings: Blessing of Travelers

Description:

617 The practice of having special prayers to ask for God's protection upon travelers, a custom often mentioned in the Bible, should be respected. The order of blessing presented in this chapter provides a model for such prayers, in order that this devout practice will continue to be observed.

This order may be used especially in the case of those who leave their country or home, even if only temporarily, to seek employment or for others who travel, for example, on holiday.

618 The present order may be used by 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.

619 If just one traveler is to be blessed or a small group, the shorter rite provided in nos. 635-638 may be used.

Prayer:

I. ORDER OF BLESSING

INTRODUCTORY RITES

620 When the community 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.

621 A minister who is a priest or deacon greets those present in the following or other suitable words, taken mainly from sacred Scripture. May the Lord, the dawn from on high who breaks upon us to guide our feet into the way of peace, be with you all.

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

622 A lay minister greets those present in the following words. May the Lord turn his face toward us and guide our feet into the way of peace, now and for ever. R. Amen.

623 In the following or similar words, the minister prepares those present for the blessing. Let us entrust those who are leaving to the hands of the Lord. Let us pray that he will give them a prosperous journey and that as they travel they will praise him in all his creatures; that they will experience God's own goodness in the hospitality they receive and bring the Good News of salvation to all those they meet; that they will be courteous toward all; that they will greet the poor and afflicted with kindness and know how to comfort and help them.

READING OF THE WORD OF GOD

624 A reader, another person present, or the minister reads a text of sacred Scripture. Brothers and sisters, listen to the words of the holy gospel according to Luke:

3:3-6 Make straight the path of the Lord. John the Baptist went throughout the whole region of the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah:

"A voice of one crying out in the desert: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths. Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill shall be made low. The winding roads shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’”

625 Or: Brothers and sisters, listen to the words of the book of Deuteronomy:

6:4-9 Take to heart these words at home and abroad. "Hear, 0 Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone! Therefore, you shall love the LORD, your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength. Take to heart these words which I enjoin on you today. Drill them into your children. Speak of them at home and abroad, whether you are busy or at rest. Bind them at your wrist as a sign and let them be as a pendant on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates."

626 Or: Genesis 12:1-9--Go forth to a land I will show you. Genesis 28:10-16--I am with you, I will protect you wherever you go. Tobit 5:17-22--May God in heaven protect you on the way and bring you back safe and sound. Luke 24:13-35--Jesus approached and began to walk with them. John 14:1-11--I am the way, the truth, and the life.

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

R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

Psalm 23 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. In verdant pastures he gives me repose; Beside restful waters he leads me; he refreshes my soul. He guides me in right paths for his name's sake. R.

Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side With your rod and your staff that give me courage. R.

You spread the table before me in the sight of my foes; You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. R.

Only goodness and kindness follow me all the days of my life; And I shall dwell in the house of the LORD for years to come. R.

Psalm 25:5-6, 9-10, 12-13 R. (v. 4) Teach me your ways, 0 Lord.

Psalm 91:1-2, 10-11, 12-13, 14-15 R. (see v. 11) He has put his angels in charge of you, to guard you in all your ways.

628 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

629 As circumstances suggest, the prayer of blessing may be preceded by the intercessions. 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 intentions are followed immediately by the prayer of blessing, no. 631.

The minister says: God is the beginning and the end of every road we take. In confidence we call upon him, saying:

R. Lord, watch over our every step.

Or: R. Lord, hear our prayer.

Assisting minister: Father all-holy, you gave us your only Son as our way to you; make us follow without faltering wherever he may lead. (For this we pray:) R.

Assisting minister: At every moment and in every place you are near to those who serve you; keep our brothers and sisters in your fatherly care, so that they will find that you are with them on their journey, even as they hope to live with you in heaven. (For this we pray:) R.

Assisting minister: Of old you made yourself the guide and the way for your people as they wandered in the desert; be our protector as we set out on this journey, so that we may return home safely. (For this we pray:) R.

Assisting minister: You made hospitality to strangers one of the signs of your coming kingdom; grant that all those who are homeless may find a permanent place to live. (For this we pray:) R.

630 When there are no intercessions, the minister, before the prayer of blessing and using the following or other similar words, invites those present to ask for God's help. Lord, teach us your ways: Lord, have mercy.

R. Lord, have mercy.

Minister: Lord, send help from your sanctuary: Lord, have mercy. R.

Minister: Lord, be our tower of strength: Lord, have mercy. R.

Minister: Lord, save your servants, for they hope in you: Lord, have mercy. R.

As circumstances suggest, all may then pray for a moment in silence before the prayer of blessing.

PRAYER OF BLESSING

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

A minister who is not going to accompany the travelers says the following prayer.

All-powerful and merciful God, you led the children of Israel on dry land, parting the waters of the sea; you guided the Magi to your Son by a star. Help these our brothers and sisters and give them a safe journey. Under your protection let them reach their destination and come at last to the eternal haven of salvation.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.

632 A minister who is to accompany the travelers says the following prayer.

All-powerful and ever-living God, when Abraham left his own land and departed from his own people, you kept him safe all through his journey. Protect us, who also are your servants: walk by our side to help us; be our companion and our strength on the road and our refuge in every adversity. Lead us, O Lord, so that we will reach our destination in safety and happily return to our homes.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.

CONCLUDING RITE

633 A minister who is a priest or deacon concludes the rite by saying: May the Lord remain constantly at your (our) side and in his mercy guide your (our) journey in ways that are pleasing to him.

We ask this though Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.

Then he blesses all present. And may almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, + and the Holy Spirit. R. Amen.

634 A lay minister invokes God's blessing on the travelers and all present by signing himself or herself with the sign of the cross and saying: May almighty God bless us and hear our prayers for a safe journey. R. Amen.

II. SHORTER RITE

635 The minister says: Our help is in the name of the Lord.

All reply: Who made heaven and earth.

636 One of those present or the minister reads a text of sacred Scripture, for example:

Tobit 4:19a At all times bless the Lord God, and ask him to make all your paths straight and to grant success to all your endeavors and plans.

John 14:6 Jesus said: "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

637 Then the minister says the prayer of blessing. All-powerful and ever-living God, when Abraham left his own land and departed from his own people, you kept him safe all through his journey. Protect us, who also are your servants: walk by our side to help us; be our companion and our strength on the road and our refuge in every adversity. Lead us, O Lord, so that we will reach our destination in safety and happily return to our homes.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.

638 Or:

May God bless you with every heavenly blessing and give you a safe journey; wherever life leads you, may you may find him there to protect you.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.

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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