QUAERITUR: what can be blessed?

I got a question as a follow up to my QUAERITUR about blessings the other day.

Your blog piece is timely indeed. Thank you.
While looking at our local diocesan newspaper yesterday, there was a photograph of a Spanish Mass with the kids holding up soccer balls, cleats, shin guards with the priest blessing them? I’ve always thought blessings of “things” (farm implements, ships, buildings, etc) was permitted when these things served for the betterment of man.  Do sports equipment fall under this or is this one of the myriad “innovations”?
Thanks and may Our Lady bless you on your journey.

First of all, remember that there is a blessing in the old Rituale Romanum intended ad omnia… for whatever thing there is not a specific blessing.

I think you can bless just about anything, provided that it is not inappropriate.

I don`t have my Rituale with me, but I believe there may be a blessings for a sports field or gymnasium… someone should double check me on that.  I know there is a blessing for mountain climbing equipment, because I once adapted it (thinking fast in Latin) to bless the hardware going into someone`s knee replacement.  That was the most optimistically adaptable blessing I could find.

In my opinion sports equipment is a good thing to bless.  I don`t see problems with that.

As I said before, blessings, the sort of blessings priests can confer and invoke, should permeate our daily lives.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. josh says:

    How does a blessing of an object work? I always thought that it was like a prayer for the user eg when a priest blesses a house he blesses the people who live there…is it the same with other things? Or am i totally off the mark?


  2. Catholic Mom says:

    I am a big fan of having various sacramentals blessed. This year our parish had a Candlemas liturgy and we were all invited to bring in devotional candles and have them blessed. I brought a dozen or so of those 7-day devotional candles that are tall glass cylinders with the wax inside and a saint’s picture on the outside. My question is, because the candles were blessed, what do I do with the glass container once the candle has burned out? Does it require a special disposal?

  3. A Random Friar says:

    Josh: From the newer Book of Blessings, no 12. \”The Church gives glory to God in all things and is particularly intent on showing forth his glory to those who have been or will be reborn though his grace. For them and with them therefore the Church in celebrating its blessings praises the Lord and implores divine grace at important moments in the life of its members. At times the Church also invokes blessings on objects and places connected with human occupations or activities and those related to the liturgy or to piety and popular devotions. But such blessings are invoked always with a view to the people who use the objects to be blessed and frequent the places to be blessed.

    IOW: Yes, we can bless objects, \”even\” in the new Ritual. Objects are not blessed for themselves, but for our benefit, to work for our sanctification.

  4. Gloria says:

    Our pastor blessed a very special birthday present to my son from his wife, a full-dress, big as a volkswagon, black-cherry-colored, Harley-Davidson Motorcycle. I, for one, am extremely grateful for the blessing, for the sake of my son, and especially since he gave me a wonderful afternoon ride on it. While I have faith in my 52 year old son’s estimable ability, I felt safer (at age 76) knowing that the hurtling object was blessed! I’m sure that St. Raphael was hovering, as well. I remember that every summer (an eon ago), when our large family embarked on the yearly camping trip, we stopped by Church to beg a blessing for a safe journey. Father Berg, before he was made FSSP Superior General, while still at St. Stephen’s, Sacramento, came up to Grass Valley to bless my new house. He covered every wall, every corner, every room, even the closets and garage.

  5. Jayna says:

    My grandmother used to get anything that stood still long enough blessed.

  6. Gordon says:

    I had a traditional priest bless my mountain bike..about 13 years ago. I think it is a good thing for these kinds of blessings. If I gEt a new bike, I’d have that blessed too. Obviously we are not to be reckless, but one does feel that wee bit safer!

  7. josh says:

    Thank you both very much for your replies. So most blessings benefit the user (like blessing the house which blesses those within) but, going by the linked post, some blessings make the object itself holy? Is an example of the latter like the sacred vessels? Or more like a relic? Or are these two different again?
    Sorry for so many questions, I’m rather unfamiliar with blessings.

  8. A Random Friar says:

    Josh: Yes. Those objects are blessed, that is, set aside for sacred use only. Obviously, one does not set aside a car that has been blessed for sacred use only (otherwise how will Father ever be able to get to his golf game? I kid!). But yes, chalices, etc, should never be used for “regular” use. One lady in the sacristy once asked if she could use one of the old chalices for drinking water from the water cooler (she had a frog in her throat at the time). I politely said it was for sacred use, and we went through the shelves, finally finding some Dixie cups we keep for the water cooler.

    Catholic Mom: My understanding is that no. The candle, not the container itself was blessed (analogous to holy water in a container). The candle is all gone now, so no blessed part remains. Since the image of a saint is on it, you should not use it for something else that disrespects the image, but you may dispose/recycle it (much like you do with a Missal with the picture of Our Lord on it). I always welcome corrections/additions.

  9. josh says:

    Thank you for the reply! (and the cringe-inducing story)

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