Question about blessing of the throats

Last night at Mass our priest announced that after Mass they would be blessing throats for anyone who was interested. Last year when they did this at our parish it was only the priest and a deacon offering the blessing and they spoke the words of the blessing. Last night they had “8 stations” where you go line up to have your throat blessed. 6 of the stations were manned by members of the laity who are extraordinary ministers of holy communion. I was under the impression that members of the laity couldn’t offer such blessings. I’m just wondering if I should mention this to our pastor or not.

my guess is that since is a sacramental not a rite of the Church that anyone delegated can give this blessing, just as lay ministers can give ashes on ash Wed

So nowadays too the priest can find auxiliaries to aid him in the office of teaching, in the good work of visiting the sick and seeking out the stray sheep, in tending to the needs of the poor and the widows and orphans, in keeping files and financial books, in running parish organizations and recreational programs. But **he cannot turn over **to them his sacramental powers, neither the greater ones of consecrating at Mass, of baptizing, of absolving, of anointing, nor even the lesser ones of bestowing on persons and objects the official blessing of the Church. Her sacramentals, then, ought not to be “the twentieth-century stepchildren of Mother Church,” as someone has referred to them.

I do not believe that this changed


New Canon Law about the sacramentals

Title I. Sacramentals

Can. 1166 Sacramentals are sacred signs by which effects, especially spiritual effects, are signified in some imitation of the sacraments and are obtained through the intercession of the Church.

Can. 1167 §1. The Apostolic See alone can establish new sacramentals, authentically interpret those already received, or abolish or change any of them.
§2. In confecting or administering sacramentals, the rites and formulas approved by the authority of the Church are to be observed carefully.

Can. 1168 The minister of sacramentals is a cleric who has been provided with the requisite power. According to the norm of the liturgical books and to the judgment of the local ordinary lay persons who possess the appropriate qualities can also administer some sacramentals.

Can. 1169 §1. Those marked with the episcopal character and presbyters permitted by law or legitimate grant can perform consecrations and dedications validly.
§2. Any presbyter can impart blessings except those reserved to the Roman Pontiff or bishops.
§3. A deacon can impart only those blessings expressly permitted by law.

Can. 1170 Blessings, which are to be imparted first of all to Catholics, can also be given to catechumens and even to non-Catholics unless there is a prohibition of the Church to the contrary.

Can. 1171 Sacred objects, which are designated for divine worship by dedication or blessing, are to be treated reverently and are not to be employed for profane or inappropriate use even if they are owned by private persons.

Can. 1172 §1. No one can perform exorcisms legitimately upon the possessed unless he has obtained special and express permission from the local ordinary.
§2. The local ordinary is to give this permission only to a presbyter who has piety, knowledge, prudence, and integrity of life.

This question has been answered previously. See

According to the introduction for the Order for Blessing of Throats in the Book of Blessings (n. 1035), yes. However, the rites differ depending on whether a cleric or lay minister is the minister. I would also think that some authorization or basis to perform the blessing would be needed for the lay person.

that is odd… my parish had blessing of the throats also, but only the priest did this. (However I attend an FSSP parish and we don’t have extraordinary ministers anyway).

I think you’re right that lay people can’t offer blessings. However I’m not sure if this is a blessing or a sacramental (like ashes on Ash Wednesday).

Well you know your going to mention it anyway,whiner.

I know that there might be understandable, perhaps even unavoidable, reasons for these kinds of changes. Like maybe the priest has to be somewhere like hospital visits. And there aren’t as many priests as there used to be.

But I’m “old school.” And sometimes it just seems like too much gets delegated anymore and so much gets rushed for trivial reasons. Somehow, I seem to remember we managed without so many lay ministers and it just took a bit longer, and no one questioned it.

We also got to Mass, my Dad and I, early and prayed, and stayed kneeling and prayed a little while afterwards. I miss this. When I go to Mass alone I can do it sometimes but when I go with others they want to leave and it’s harder to say even one quick prayer.

Can’t help but wonder if we all suffer from “slow-o-phobia” these days. Not putting down lay ministers - they can be helpful and useful in many ways. Yet I get sad when it’s so seldom that I get to receive the Eucharist from the priest even, and it seems odd with the sacramentals, too. :frowning: So it took more time the old way, so what? We all waste time every day, myself included. On the Internet for one thing! :smiley:

I know. I probably sound like “And we walked six miles in the snow barefooted.” :snowing: Don’t mean to be grumpy but in America we do seem spoiled. BTW, don’t get me started on the elimination of holydays and moving them to Sundays and so on, either. :rolleyes:

The blessing of the throats is originaly started with Saint Blaise, blessing of the throats is just like doing praying over with the sick, only the blessing of the trhoats has a specific prayer that Saint Blaise use. There is no special or specific church documents that only the priest can do such blessing. The blessing were usually be in the feast of Saint Blaise unless if it is necessary. I believed any baptized catholics can perform sauch blessing.

I was at a liturgical conference in Houston and, interestingly enough, two of the topics treated the Book of Blessings. It was the general consensus that, whenever the priest is present, it pertains to him to impart the blessing, not the laity.

The imposition of ashes is not the same thing as the blessing of the throats. The blessing of the throat contains a very specific formula. The reason why there are provisions for the laity to recite these prayers is due to the fact that in missionary territories where a priest is not readily available, at least some provision is made for the faithful.

Laypersons cannot bless anyone’s throat.

There are options for St. Blaise day.

Either the priest* blesses everyone’s throat individually, using the candles and the formula of blessing.


The priest blesses everyone’s throats (as a group) and then individuals come forward and the priest and/or layperson places the candles on each one’s throat and says a prayer. The later isn’t a blessing (throats have already been blessed), it’s a prayer.

What isn’t allowed (or even possible) is that laypersons actually bless throats–the ritual is clear in saying that what the layperson is doing is a prayer, not a blessing.

*substitute priest(s) and/or deacon(s) here.

From the Book of Blessings:
“1626 The blessing of throats may be given by a priest, deacon, or a lay minister who follows the rites and prayers designated for a lay minister.”

It describes how this is done in the Mass, when obviously a priest is present. It prints out both the “Prayer of Blessing” to be said by the celebrant and prints it again for the lay minister, with exactly the same words. The only difference is that the lay minister: “without making the sign of the cross, says the prayer of blessing”.

The last rubric for this blessing in Mass is:
“1635 If all cannot be blessed individually, the celebrant, without candles, extends his hands over the assembly and says the prayer of blessing.” (Book of Blessings, Liturgical Press, Minnesota, 1989, ISBN 0-8146-1875-8, page 614).

However, early on, in this century, when the CDWDS was posed with a similar question regarding blessings, the Congregation stated that when the priest is present, it falls to him to confer the blessing, not the laity. Furthermore, the De Benedictionibus came in before Ecclesia de Mysterio was promulgated. That, I believe, changes things.

As I am battling a severe cold, it will take me some time to pull up the references given at the presentation I attended when the De Benedictionibus was discussed and the citation from the CDWDS was given.

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