The Armchair Liturgist: Blessing New Hymnals

How do new hymnals in a parish get introduced? Fund-raising campaign? Negotiation with the finance committee? Your people come to Mass one weekend, and surprise! New books.

Some of you may know the Book of Blessings provides for the blessing of a parish’s new resource for singing the Mass. After a brief introduction, the priest offers a prayer of blessing:

Lord God of glory,
your church on earth joins with the choirs of heaven
in giving you thanks and praise.

As we gather to worship you in wonder and awe
may the songs on our lips
echo the music that swells in our hearts.

Bless us as we use these hymnals
and grant that we may glorify and praise you,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
now and for ever.

hymnalsA few observations and questions here …

Note the specific blessing is on people (“Bless us”).

What of annual music books: should these be a means of blessing the singing assembly? (First Sunday of Advent, visualize: wreath, books … what else?)

What gesture seems appropriate for people holding their books? To raise them in the air? What about the books in empty pews?

And the question often asked for a parish with many weekend assemblies: bless at one Mass or all of them?

Sit in the purple chair and render judgment. How has your parish done it? What would you do, were you more than the armchair liturgist?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Liturgical Music, Scripture, The Armchair Liturgist. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Armchair Liturgist: Blessing New Hymnals

  1. Liam says:

    Unless the hymnal were something that community at large was deeply aware of/engaged in and where the reception of the hymnals by the community is a genuine event, I would strongly recommend foregoing the opportunity.

    By the way, for comparison, here is the vernacular of the default blessing in the 1962 Roman Ritual (which ritual book can still be used: since this is a blessing of objects rather than people, it could be used when the hymnals are about to be unpacked and placed where they belong):


    This form may be used by any priest for the blessing of anything that does not have its own special blessing in the Roman Ritual.

    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.
    God, whose word suffices to make all things holy, pour out your blessing + on this object (these objects); and grant that anyone who uses it (them) with grateful heart and in keeping with your law and will, may receive from you, its (their) Maker, health in body and protection of soul by calling on your holy name; through Christ our Lord.

    All: Amen.
    It (they) is (are) sprinkled with holy water.

  2. Anne says:

    “Your people come to Mass one weekend, and surprise! New books.”

    Yes and for us it was a pleasant surprise.

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