ASK FATHER: Forms of 1st blessings by new priests

I’ve had a couple emails lately with questions about forms or texts of blessings by priests.  ‘Tis the season: new priests are darting about, leaving whiffs of still-fresh chrism in their wakes, imparting “first blessings”.  As it turns out, I have answered a similar question exactly one year ago today.  This is what I wrote.

QUAERITUR… From a reader:

I have searched for but am unable to find the text a newly ordained priest uses for first blessings. Do you perhaps know where one could find it in Latin and/or in English?


The usual blessing:

Benedictio Dei omnipotentis Patris, et + Filii, et Spiritus Sancti descendat super te/vos et maneat semper. Amen.

Often rendered as…

May the blessing of Almighty God, Father, + Son, and Holy Spirit/Ghost, descend upon you and remain with you forever. Amen.

There is no need to throw in all sorts of other ingredients as if those to be blessed were lined up at a salad bar … sprinklings of pious imagery, vague invocations of niceness and holy fluff, rambling discourses that dead end in words like “beautiful” … you know of which I speak.

This is also the blessing the priest should give to servers after Mass.

Romans are concise.  Fathers, enough with the rambling.  Be concise.

Ask priests for their blessing.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Imrahil says:

    Around here it is done like this:

    Priest blesses the whole congregation, using exactly the blessing our reverend host presented above.

    Then, people line up to receive personal blessing which is usually as follows:

    By the imposition of my hands and through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, St. Joseph, Sts. NN and all saints may bless you with all blessing of Heaven and Earth the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

    For the other saints included, some priests ask for the name-patron of the one about to be blessed (i. e. we would immediately say it when he approaches, as done in Confirmation), some add their own name-patron or favorite saints, some choose saints differently for others to be blessed (e.g., one chose St. Maria Goretti precisely for all girls that approached).

  2. Imrahil says:

    I’m speaking of course of the primitial blessing (which they say is worth to run one’s shoes to ruin for).

  3. Fr. Thomas Kocik says:

    And while we’re at it, a related bit of advice to my brother priests: When asked to say grace before a meal, just stick to the traditional prayer, “Benedic nos, Domine…” (Bless us, O Lord…). People are waiting to sit down to eat. They’ve been polite enough to ask you to pray. They do not need to hear a litany of thanksgivings or general intercessions or a stream of consciousness. Just. Bless. The. Food.

    [Do I hear an “Amen!”?]

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  4. Fr. Bryan says:

    Always happy to give the usual blessing. Not enough people ask. And ditto on Fr. Kocik’s comment.

  5. APX says:

    The other thing about adding fluff is the practicality of it over and over and over and over again. My friend started out with fluffy personalized first blessings, but after 30 minutes or so he whittled them down to the aforementioned.

  6. Kensington says:

    Oh, gosh, I’m so glad to hear that you priests don’t mind being asked to give blessings. I so often want to ask but figured I shouldn’t waste the priest’s time.

  7. Gregorius says:

    A recently-ordained FSSP priest gave a lengthy Latin version of the prayer Imrahil describes. He even asked each person about patron saints beforehand! Needless to say the lines were very long.

    In all other first blessings I’ve received I’ve heard the english version of the prayer. I thank God I’ve been able to receive so many first blessings…

  8. I learned to kneel before the new priest, and then kiss his palms (presented) where the chrism was placed.

    But I have seen that some new priests – from our somewhat trendy seminary here – aren’t familiar with this. Is this hopelessly old-fashioned of me?

    PS AMEN to the food blessing bit.

  9. Random Friar says:

    My own experience is that many, especially of Latin heritage, also ask for a special intention during the blessing, so I incorporated that intention, plus the general one to end it.

    “Father, I am discerning a vocation.”. “Father, I am looking for a job.”. “Father, my mother is near death.” etc. But again, not rambling, E.g., “May God grant you the Wisdom and Fortitude to know and follow His will, and may the blessing of Almighty God… etc.”

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