From a reader…
What formula would be appropriate for blessing a power wheelchair?
Wow! That’s an easy one.
First, you can always use the Blessing “ad omnia“. But we can do better than that.
With a slight twist I reach for my handy copy of the great Rituale Romanum. I flip to the section on Blessings and find the subsection on Blessings for things for Ordinary (not Sacred) Use. Hereunder I find the blessing for a stretcher, an ambulance or a WHEELCHAIR!
Pius X approved this blessing in 1908 at the behest of Card. Lorenzelli of Lucca.
The prayer mentions a lectica, which is a litter or sedan chair, in other words some vehicle or conveyance for the infirm. This prayer would be just fine. But, if we want to tweak it a little we could substitute something like “sella rotalis automataria” to indicate “powered wheel chair”.
Sometimes you have to adapt these prayers. For example, I once blessed an artificial knee with the blessing for mountain climbing equipment. A reading of the forward of the Rituale reveals that it was the intention of the promulgator that it should serve as a model. It isn’t the last word on blessings, thus slamming the door on new forms. Of course one should seek approval from proper authority. For another example, I have a prayer for the putting on (“vesting”) of a portable microphone. I hate the damn things, but they are being used.
Back to the motorized wheel chair blessing.
BENEDICTIO VEHICULI AEGROTIS IN LOCUM CURATIONIS TRADUCENDI. (In more recent iterations of the Rituale we find the “Benedictio lecticae pro infirmis”)
V. Adiutorium nostrum in nomine Domini.
R. Qui fecit coelum et terram.
V. Dominus vobiscum.
R. Et cum spiritu tuo.
Domine Iesu Christe, Fili Dei vivi, qui, dum peregrinabaris in terris, pertransibas benefaciendo et sanando omnem languorem et omnem infirmitatem in populis, quique hominem paralyticum, iacentem in lecto, ad salutem mentis et corporis restituisti; respice, quaesumus, ad fidem et ad sensus commiserationis servorum tuorum, qui, animati spiritu verae caritatis, qua tu eis exemplo praeivisti, et quam in praeceptum traduxisti, vehiculum hoc ad instar lectuli [sellae rotalis automatariae] artificiose exstrui voluerunt, eo fine, ut ad locum curationis vel aptissime deferri possint quicumque aut vulneribus sint affecti aut quavis infirmitate detineantur. Aegrotis igitur, qui hoc componuntur vehículo, quod nunc in tui nominis virtute bene dicimus, esto, mitissime Iesu, in itinere solatium, in periculis tutamen, in doloribus refrigerium. Praesta, ut iidem, tuis Angelis comitantibus, ad curationis sedem tranquillo cursu perveniant, ibique pristinam sanitatem récuperent, eaque, te miserante, per intercessionem sanctissimae tuae Matris Mariae, percepta, abeuntes in domos suas, honorificent et magnificent te Deum verum : Qui cum Patre et Spiritu Sancto vivis et regnas in saecula saeculorum.
BLESSING OF A STRETCHER, AMBULANCE, WHEELCHAIR
P: Our help is in the name of the Lord.
All: Who made heaven and earth.
P: The Lord be with you.
All: May He also be with you.
Let us pray.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, who during your earthly sojourn went about doing good, alleviating the people’s suffering and infirmities, and restoring bodily and spiritual vigor to the paralytic lying on his pallet; look with favor, we pray, on the faith and compassion of your servants who, animated with true charity by your example as well as by your command, have constructed this stretcher (or ambulance or wheelchair) to bear the wounded and the sick to the place of healing. By the blessing we impart to it in the power of your name, O gentle Jesus, let it become for the sick who will be carried on it a comfort on the way, a safeguard in perils, a relief from suffering. Grant that in the company of your angels they may be borne in comfort to the place of healing, and there recover their former good health. Thus made aware of how they have been favored by your mercy and by the prayers of Mary, your blessed Mother, may they return to their homes praising and glorifying you, the true God, who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit forever and ever.
They are sprinkled with holy water.