Blessing the Book of Gospels – Updated

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: Have you run across a blessing for a new Book of Gospels used during Mass?  Looking in the book of blessings I only find a blessing for liturgical articles.


A: There isn’t one. I think this is because the bible is the Word of God, and there’s nothing a blessing by a mere priest can do to enhance it. We do not bless the book of the gospels. The bishop uses the book of the gospels to bless us.


Q: Regarding your post on not blessing the Book of the Gospels, just FYI… in the Book of Blessings, chapter 39 (“Order for the Blessing of Articles for Liturgical Use”), there is a blessing for ritual books (1353)… with the Sacramentary and Lectionary specifically mentioned as possible examples in the introduction (1343)… so it would seem that blessing a Book of the Gospels is possible and foreseen. The prayer in 1353 would just be adapted to mention the specific book being blessed.


A: Thanks for catching that.

But let me add that that blessing pertains uniquely to the United States. At 1343 the USA edition translates the Latin typical edition’s 1070, which makes no mention of blessing hymnals or service books, and therefore no explicit reference to the Sacramentary or Lectionary. Indeed, the blessing of such books in the US edition at 1353 has no equivalent in the typical edition. It appears that 1343 was extended in the US to justify the blessing at 1353.

That said, because it is in the approved book, it may be used in the US. But I wonder if its inclusion was an oversight. In my view, it takes some nerve for a priest or deacon to bless scripture.