Lay blessings


Hello all,

Can anyone tell me if 1) laity can give blessings and 2) if so, are they as efficacious as though given by a priest?

I know that when I say grace, I am blessing my food (“Bless us, O Lord, and these thy gifts…”).

I am specifically curious about 2 things I suppose:

  1. is it OK to bless my children, either with or without holy water, by tracing a cross on their foreheads, and is that blessing efficacious?

  2. can I bless somebody else? E.g., my sister and I were walking out of a church, and she never blesses herself with holy water before or after entering. I dipped my hand into the holy water and traced a cross on her forehead…I guess more as a reminder to her! Was that OK, and was it efficacious?

Thanks all in advance!


Only priests may give blessings. The laity may ask for God to bless, but they cannot give blessings. Only priests may give blessings because they work in the Person of Chist, who alone can impart blessings.


Hi, and thanks for your answer. I think I agree; however, I read something early this AM (insomnia!) that parents can give blessings to their children, since the children are their “spiritual charges.”



But parents may not act as priests, including laying on of hands. That is what I meant.


I would like some clarification on this as well.

When a priest blesses sacramentals, he doesn’t bless them himself but prays to God to bless and sanctify them and asks God to protect those who keep and use them. Most of the blessings in the Ritual seem to be directed to God without any mention of the priests mediation or authority. So, in what ways is the prayer of a priest asking God to bless something more efficacious than a lay person asking God to bless something? I mean, if a lay person asks God to bless water or some other sacramental, why is it not considered blessed? Does God only honor the prayer of blessing of a priest?


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