Q: I was having lunch with a fellow deacon today and the discussion turned to doing blessings. He had been asked to bless a Brown Scapular. Before doing so, he looked in various sources to see if it was appropriate for a deacon to do that particular blessing. He looked in five sources and got two different answers: A deacon or priest are allowed, and the celebrant does it. Deacons tend to think of celebrants as being priests or bishops.
So, can a deacon bless a Scapular? And for future reference, how should we interpret “celebrant” in this context?
A: The blessing of the brown scapular is not specifically listed among those collected in the Book of Blessings, so I defer to the Carmelites who foster this devotion to determine if a deacon may conduct that blessing.
In general, though, the Book of Blessings has deacons bless exactly the same way as priests, and includes the blessing of religious articles.
Regarding the term “celebrant”, it depends on the liturgical book. The GIRM refers to priests as celebrants or concelebrants. It would not use that term for a deacon. However, the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults refers to the one presiding over ceremonies such as the Acceptance into the Order of Catechumens, the Scrutinies, and the Presentations as the celebrant, and that may be a deacon.