Regularly blessing your child is a powerful symbol of your love, and more importantly, your desire to entrust your child into the care of God’s love. Here’s how to start.
(This article is adapted from the book 77 Ways to Pray with Your Kids.)
Did you know that, as a baptized lay person, you are not only qualified to bless people and objects and places in certain situations (such as in your home), you are called to do so?
Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers [Amazon] contains many blessings for various occasions (for departures, moving, unborn children, the start of the school year, and so on), but a simple way to start is to make it a habit to regularly bless your child—a powerful symbol of your love, and more importantly, your desire to entrust your child into the care of God’s love.
Come up with a short ritual for blessing your children during transitional times of the day (leaving or returning home, going to bed or waking, before a big event, etc.).
- Make the Sign of the Cross on your child’s forehead while saying: “May God bless you and keep you, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
- Seal the blessing with a kiss on the forehead.
- Use holy water if you have it available.
Even more powerfully, allow and encourage your kids to bless you as well. Children as young as two and three will enjoy reciprocating, imitating your blessing once they’ve received it often enough.
Learn more about blessing
More than one hundred other ritual blessings to use in the home, from Catholic Culture.
Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy: Principles and Guidelines
See #272-273 for a discussion on blessings. We bless people, places, and things as “an authentic expression of faith in God, the giver of all good things.” Blessings typically consist of two parts: the proclamation of the Word of God, “which makes sense of the sacred sign, and the prayer with which the Church praises God and implores his assistance.”
Catechism of the Catholic Church #1669, #1671-1672
“…every baptized person is called to be a ‘blessing,’ and to bless.” “…Every blessing praises God and prays for his gifts. In Christ, Christians are blessed by God the Father ‘with every spiritual blessing.’ This is why the Church imparts blessings by invoking the name of Jesus, usually while making the holy sign of the cross of Christ.”
A lengthy excerpt from Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers [Amazon] that explains that certain blessings can be performed by baptized lay people by virtue of their office (e.g., as the parent of a child).