Birthday Blessings at mass


At my parish we have started acknowledging birthdays and anniversaries before mass (asking them to stand and for the faithful to pray for them during mass). Then before the final Blessing “announcers” come on the altar and read highlights of the bulletin. Then they ask the birthdays and anniversaries to stand the faithful extend hands as the Priest gives them a Blessing. Seems kind of overkill on birthdays and anniversaries but does this sound like its liturgically correct.


A bit much but a Priest would have to say if allowed or not allowed.



A parish I used to frequent in the Dominican Republic would do this after every Mass during the announcements. Those celebrating a birthday that week would be invited to come up for a blessing and then the whole congregation would sing happy birthday…in concept it is nice, but it got a bit tiring when it was Sunday after Sunday and always a major time consumer.


Nothing wrong with any of this.

This might raise some questions, as many feel the raised hand is a priestly gesture reserved to priests alone.


My parish celebrates marriage anniversaries during the announcements at mass. I wasn’t sure how I felt about this at first (and maybe I shouldn’t have felt weird at all), but I figure the purpose is to support marriages in an era when divorce is so common.


In Eastern Churches (both Catholic and Orthodox) it’s traditional to sing “Many Years” to anyone celebrating anything (birthdays, name days, anniversaries etc). We typically sing this right before the final blessing at the end of Divine Liturgy.


Well, it sounds charitably correct…just let it go!


My parish has a special mass once per year to celebrate 5,10,15, 20, 25…etc. years of marriage. They all renew their vows during the mass. It’s very nicely done.


In India, the priest will give you a blessing and announce it to the church at the end of mass and give you a candle to take home.


Our parish does this on the first Sunday of the month, after the Mass has ended/announcements.


I’m not a huge fan of these things, and it would be nice if we focused more on our baptism day over our birthday. But I don’t think it is liturgically wrong. If it were and that is all you have to deal with then count yourself lucky.


It is annoying, but, not forbidden.


For birthdays there is no blessing in the Mass. The Latin edition of the Book of Blessings has no blessing for birthdays. The USA edition of this liturgical book adds a ceremony for blessing people on their birthdays, but it does not take place in the Mass. (Book of Blessings, isbn 0814618758, Liturgical Press, 1989, Chapter XI Order of Blessing on the Occasion of a Birthday, page 100).

A special blessing for wedding anniversaries is at the back of the book “The Order Of Celebrating Matrimony” (I have the Australian edition: isbn 9781925494051, St Paul’s Publications, 2017). It has:


  1. On the main anniversaries of Marriage, as for example, on the twenty-fifth, fiftieth, or sixtieth anniversary, it is fitting to hold a special remembrance of the Sacrament ….”.

After the homily there is a renewal of “their commitment to live their Marriage in holiness”. Then, if appropriate, there is a blessing of their rings. After the Our Father the prayer “Deliver us …” is omitted and another prayer prayed. There can be a special blessing for the couple at the end of the Mass. The rubrics are: “Then the Priest, with hands extended over the couple, says:”.

So everyone extending their hands is not correct.

[Extracts from the English translation of The Order of Celebrating Matrimony © 2013, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation (ICEL). All rights reserved.]


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