Here is something useful from Ed “the academic” Peters.
NOTE TO BISHOPS and ORDINANDS:
It would be great were you to make this known to people before the opportunity has passed! Consider putting a note about this things in the worship aids you develop for ordinations and for first Masses! Consider having a note about it the week before in the diocesan newspaper and in parish bulletins where first Masses will be celebrated. Include the requirements for gaining the indulgences.
Moreover, Your Excellencies, you can by your office and authority enrich with a partial indulgence the reception of a “first blessing” by a priest or a deacon (yes, deacons can give invocative blessings). The Enchiridion doesn’t provide for such an indulgence, but you, Your Excellencies, can concede one! Get a request to Rome soon, if necessary.
Ordinands, you might ask your bishop to grant this spiritual favor. Proper procedures are to be followed, of course.
These are important spiritual benefits. We have to re-teach people about them.
Ordinations, first Masses, and clerical blessings
by Dr. Edward Peters
Questions related to ordinations, first Masses, and clerical blessings always surface about this time of year. Shall we review a few points? Let me cite to the more commonly available 1999 “Manual of Indulgences” although the 2004 Enchiridion Indulgentiarum is the current statement.
1. The practice of receiving a priest’s “first blessing” after his ordination Mass is a praiseworthy custom, but there is no specific indulgence attached to receiving such a blessing or, for that matter, to attending a cleric’s ordination Mass. [I DON’T CARE if there is no special indulgence attached to this. ASK for the blessing and kiss the palms of the priest’s hands.]
2. There is a specific plenary indulgence attached to attending a priest’s first “scheduled” or “public” Mass (regardless of whether it is designated a “Mass of Thanksgiving”, although it likely will be so designated), and to the first such Mass only. Enchiridion 1999, conc. 27. The celebration indulgenced here is not the same as the ordination Mass itself. [The new priest concelebrates with the ordaining bishop.]
3. All deacons are authorized to give any blessings so listed in the Book of Blessings [BLECH! I suggest that you all ignore the Book of Blessings… a dreadful thing… and use the Rituale Romanum. But please, let’s not deal with that in the combox. Rabbit hole is hereby closed.] and several such blessings could be appropriately given by a deacon immediately after his ordination. See 1983 CIC 1169.3 and the Shorter Book of Blessings, especially the Appendix “Solemn Blessing and Prayers over the People”.
4. Diocesan bishops may prohibit certain blessings from being offered (1983 CIC 1169.2 and CLSA Comm at 1403). Clergy should comply with such prohibitions, of course, but are free to discuss the policy with the proper authorities. Arguments against such prohibitions (say, those discouraging deacons from offerings blessings) are certainly at hand. [A deacon is ordained to do certain things after all.]
5. It would be within the authority of the arch/diocesan bishop to enrich a cleric’s “first blessings” with a partial indulgence, per Enchiridion 1999, norm 7.1, although the requirement for prior Roman review of such grants, per norm 12, probably makes such an idea impractical for this year. As I’ve said in several other contexts, this year’s liturgical questions should addressed now for use next year. [A note about that. The proper office to ask about this would be the Sacra Penitenzieria Apostolica. They are notoriously SWIFT in replying! Because this is not a matter of the internal form, you could fax to their office. I’ll wager you would get a quick response.]
Read more about indulgences: Edward Peters, A Modern Guide to Indulgences (Liturgy Training Publications, 2008) 115 pages.