UPDATED post: Can a Catholic sprinkle a public place with Holy Water?


I changed the title from bless to sprinkle because of course a lay person really can’t do this kind of blessing.
OK I just want to clarify. I had read somewhere that when priests were praying the Holy Rosary outside of an abortion clinic they could hear growling that was NOT from a natural source. Of course we know who that could have possibly been. I know that Holy Water has MANY “helps” attached to its use. I have sprinkled my childrens’ bedroom when they were having rough times. I just was wondering if while praying QUIETLY if those praying QUIETLY outside of an abortion clinic could also sprinkle the Holy water (at the legal distance allowed—sidewalk) and ask special prayers for those inside. I have never been anywhere near an abortion clinic and of course I would NOT or recommend to anyone to do this inside. It would NOT be for show or attention. It would be for help from the Holy Spirit for those there to stop doing what they are doing. The Holy Water would never be sprinkled on any person or inside the building just discreetly outside while praying. And in no way would they be disturbing the peace. I was just asking to honestly know if this would help as well as praying for those inside.

Let’s say there were a group of Catholics praying outside (legal distance allowed) of an abortion clinic and one of them or even a priest wanted to bless the area/building (again legal distance allowed by law) with Holy Water could they and pray that those considering an abortion, or taking part in abortions would be protected from satan and have a change of heart.


I think only priests (or any ordained) can bless in that way, but I’m not sure. Also, the abortion clinic would probably be on private property, so the priest would have to get permission from the property owner. The sidewalk is public and they could bless the sidewalk, but they would not be allowed to spray water on the building or windows of the abortion clinic. If it is actually a public building like some sort of community center, they could probably get permission, but it might cause an uproar by liberals.


I do not see why not. Like you stated, it’s within legal distance. I don’t believe there would be much of a case for legal action against you. How far away are we talking?


It would be from the sidewalk and it may not even “touch” the actual building but it would be prayed for all of those that go there or work there to have a change of heart and save lives instead of ending them.



The magisterium takes blessings very seriously. As laypeople, we do not have holy orders and thus, our effectiveness is limited and the church recognizes that.

Book of Blessings


it’s a brown book, full of blessings for nearly every situation and every person. there are blessings in there that are allowed by laypersons and it is distinctly differentiated as to who can bless what with which blessing.

In short, no, a regular lay-person can not bless anything, not even the food you’re going to eat, not even a building. What we can do is simply ask God to bless it for us! that does the trick real nice.


And, OMG, yay cajun for praying outside an abortion clinic! Are you in an ecumenical group with other religions or in a closed group of catholics only? I have found the very best way to evangelize a Protestant is to show him or her how catholic he or she really is! Sometimes it’s just too funny.


They can sprinkle holy water and pray. Yeah.


I am so sorry for the misunderstanding. I’ve never prayed outside of an abortion clinic. I was asking if I would could I bless it with Holy Water. I would hope one day that I could definitely pray outside of an abortion clinic.


A lay person can’t bless the building with the holy water, but a lay person could simply sprinkle the holy water.

BTW - any person brave enough to risk or face jail time for sprinkling holy water on an abortion clinic is a hero in my book!


You can’t bless it, but you can simply sprinkle holy water on it. There is a distinction.


The word “bless” does apply here in the wider sense of praying over an person or object. This is how we can bless our food or ourselves (“bless myself with holy water”). It is not used in the same sense as the blessing or even consecration imparted by a priest.

Using this more generous sense of “bless”, yes it is indeed possible and even praiseworthy to bless the evil place with holy water. Don’t underestimate the power of holy water, especially that blessed and exorcised at Epiphany. Demons hate that stuff. If you can get a few drops into the premises, who knows what effect that would have. But if you couldn’t because of legal restrictions, even sprinkling in the direction of the facility would probably have an effect nonetheless.


If I had the means I’d rent a helicopter and drop it by the load like they do in fire zones. LOL! Now that would be a blessing.


You can use an invocation of God’s blessing if you are not ordained (meaning: you do not bless, but ask God to bless, and you do not trace the Sign of the Cross, but you sign yourself).

Sprinkling of Holy Water is a different story. Holy Water is a sacramental, already blessed. One can use it anywhere, unless there’s a legal reason against it. There may be some legal prohibition against spraying liquids on people.

[Also people that are not part of the group, like the “patients”, may find it rude :slightly_smiling_face: ]


What’s stopping you?


I am from a very small town and I have not actually ever seen an abortion clinic anywhere near here (THANK YOU JESUS). The closest is probably and hour or even more away.


I thought maybe that was the case. Unfortunately we have one here a few blocks from the church. Makes it easy to walk over and pray


If that was the case for me I’d make it a point to go there and pray EVERY day if I could. How sad. Please see my updated OP.


The prayer group at church prays for the clinic to close, staff to be converted, babies to be saved every day. (It’s a very specific prayer). The big marches occur on First Saturdays. I am not opposed to the march and have gone a few times, but I feel the prayer is just as efficacious when said in the church or in my own home as it is when said on the sidewalk. If the point is to be visible, doing it once a month makes a sufficient statement in my mind.


I don’t consider battling evil a right. I would say it’s a duty.

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