Is it wrong for a lay person to bless you


I visit an old friend now and again and whenever her aunt is there, she insists on blessing my friend with holy water. Recently my friend, a new mother, visited her aunt, and she made the sign of the cross with her hands across the babys forehead and then went on to bless her with holy water. I have no idea if this is completely harmless or inappropriate. Any thoughts?


Good question! I just looked it up in our forum's own publication, This Rock, and it was mentioned not long ago:

I read recently that lay people are not supposed to make the sign of the cross on others. I make the sign of the cross with holy water and a crucifix in the direction of my grown children's homes. Am I doing something wrong?

Lay people should refrain from giving such blessings in Church because they are likely to be confused with the blessing only a priest can give. But it is appropriate to give a blessing to family members in private. Making the sign of the cross on the forehead is a good way of doing it because it is less likely to be taken as a priestly blessing.

When my grandmother kneaded the dough for bread, the last thing she would do was to make a cross on the dough with the side of her hand. The cross is the sign of our salvation. It is most appropriate for us to use it in our daily life.

Fr. Vincent Serpa Category: Prayer and Devotion Keywords: sign of the cross


Actually, I was wondering about this also, as the other day my grandmother went into the hospital for surgery. I was in the ER with her, and I prayed a rosary, but in between the final Hail Mary and the Hail Holy Queen, I got up, placed the crucifix on her forehead and prayed that God would grant her a successful surgery. I wasn't sure if this was allowed.

PS: The surgery was successful :)


I have seen any number of lay Catholics giving each other blessings. I think as long as it's in a context that can't be mistaken for a priestly blessing, there is no problem. I also think that by virtue of our baptismal priesthood, we certainly have the power to ask God's blessing on our loved ones and friends.


When my grandmother kneaded the dough for bread, the last thing she would do was to make a cross on the dough with the side of her hand. The cross is the sign of our salvation. It is most appropriate for us to use it in our daily life.

I actually have a habit of tracing a cross on doors with my thumb to hotels and other places when I enter to stay the night. Not sure why I have started doing it, but it's a habit I got into shortly before becoming catholic.


I bless each of my children -sometimes with holy water- while making the sign of the cross on their foreheads. I agree with the other posters that as long as there is no confusion with priestly blessings there shouldn't be a problem.
A while ago I was telling a friend of mine how my daughter was recovering from pneumonia and she looked down at my daughter and with her thumb traced the sign of the cross on her forehead while saying, "God Bless you, you poor thing". I don't see anything wrong with that and was in fact touched by it.
When we go on long car trips I will bless the car inside and out with holy water asking God for safe travels. We have always had safe and uneventful travels even in inclement weather. Holy water is a sacramental that we all should be using regularly as baptized Catholics.
Maybe your friend could ask her aunt about these blessings. Is your friend's baby baptized? From what you wrote, I think they are harmless blessings and very loving gestures.


Recently, My younger adult brother was in the hospital with a tube in his mouth, and tubes in his arms and he was in a coma state. He is dying of cancer of the throat.

My Mom and my sister went to bless my brother and pray for him. The male Nurse told my Mom that they could pray all they wanted but that my brother was going to die.
He was very hoffy and cold with his statements.

My mom and my sister prayed for an hour for my brother. The next day my brother got better and woke up and they took the tube out of his mouth and he is talking now.

When the male nurse saw my Mom and other family members he said right away..."You all can go into his room and pray for him". That male nurse became a believer in blessings and prayer.

My other sister and myself had been saying to eachother that only a miracle could save my brother from dying. A miracle happened.
My brother still has the cancer but it is not his time yet since God let him live longer through the family prayers asking God to bless him and cure him. LaLucia


As I understand it: (and as usual I speak under correction from people who know more).

A priest may say "I bless you in the name of the Lord."
A lay person may say, "Lord, please bless this person", or "May the Lord bless you".
The difference is that the priest has authority from God to bless people.
The lay person is allowed to ask the Lord for blessings, but not to assume authority.

There are those who believe that parents have authority from the Lord to bless their children. I don't know, but I'm inclined to believe that a faithful Christian father or mother may in fact have some authority of blessing where their children are concerned.

May the Lord grant the peace of Christ to the OP, and to all who read this thread.



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