Is this actually a blessing?

This morning at the beginning of Mass I got the sense that something was kind of missing from the Blessing of the Palms – namely, the part where the palms get blessed. Here’s the text that was read over us:
Lord, increase the faith of your people and listen to our prayers. Today we honor Christ our triumphant King by carrying these branches. May we honor you every day by living always in him who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
Uh okay. Well, as it turns out, that actually is one of the two options, and it is not all that far from the Latin, as you can tell from the fairly similar new translation of this “blessing,” which will say:
Increase the faith of those who place their hope in you, O God, and graciously hear the prayers of those who call on you, that we, who today hold high these branches to hail Christ in his triumph, may bear fruit for you by good works accomplished in him.
So, does anything actually get blessed here? By comparison, here’s the other option (which I did not hear this morning) that can be used:
Almighty God, we pray you bless these branches and make them holy. Today we joyfully acclaim Jesus our Messiah and King. May we reach one day the happiness of the new and everlasting Jerusalem by faithfully following him who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
Why do they write blessings like this? Should I feel like I have a blessed palm?

Yes, they are blessed. The priest said one of the proscribed prayers. What you may not have seen (I couldn’t from where I was standing) is that he then sprinkles the palms with holy water. My problm is a bit different, we went to youth group directly after Mass, and I just realized a little bit ago that we didn’t bring any palms home! I hope there are still some there tomorrow!

The palm branches were likely blessed at an earlier Mass. That was the situation at my church today.

Hello Mark,

For reasons with which I am not completely familiar, the post-Vatican II Church has seen an obvious shift away from blessing objects to offering a prayer for those who would use the object. If you get your hands on the “Book of Blessings,” you’ll see this is the case for basically every blessing in the book. What you noticed today is the same as what you’ll see on Ash Wednesday: one prayer is for the people, the other directly blesses the ashes.

Are the palms blessed? Somehow, yes.


Mine was the optional prayer with our Priest then walking the aisles blessing everyone holding their palms with Holy Water. I was at the first Mass of the day. But I remember when everyone used to process into the Church from outside after the Blessing of the Palms and our Parish no longer does that. Not at our Mass anyway. Without starting a separate topic, wouldn’t it be nice if We all did the same thing, using the same rubrics?

Well, AFAIK, they’re not blessed if the priest doesn’t pray to or intend to actually bless them with some form of mental or vocal prayer, at some time or another.

If he’s just praying for the people, he’s just praying for the people. And that pretty much is the only thing you find in the new Book of Blessings, and that’s intentional by the compilers of it.

Sprinkling something with holy water, is not making a thing blessing in and of itself AFAIK either. Though certainly it is helpful, at least, if the holy water is actually blessed, which again, I note, if you use the Book of Blessings. . . The compilers decided to ‘move away’ from the actual ‘blessing’ of objects, in view of a new spiritual view, perhaps where ‘blessing’ acquires the meaning of praising God.

Yes, we had the aspersion. That’s not really a blessing by itself, though.

No, what I’m describing was the blessing (and is given as one of the two forms for blessing palms in the Missal).

Well, that’s the sense I’ve had.

Hi Shin,

Thanks for the reply. I agree with everything you’ve said here. The point about the intention of the priest is especially helpful. I would guess that the priest seeing “Blessing of the Palms” in the book would make him think “Ok, here’s where I bless the palms.” So, that should suffice as far as an intention of actually blessing the palms, even if the words he uses do not bless them… As far as the priest supplying some kind of mental prayer of blessing when the vocal prayer does not bless the object, only God knows.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit