Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Unique Catholic Gift Idea - A Papal Blessing

Do you have a loved one that is a Catholic in good standing? Are you searching for a unique and special gift for them, that will be cherished for years, if not generations? Maybe you've heard of this before, but how about giving them the special gift of a Papal Blessing?

I was dusting off the cobwebs on our framed Papal Blessing (Benediction Papalis), which gave me the idea to tell you about it. I gave this to my husband as our wedding present the day we got married. It is printed on beautiful parchment paper, and has a color photo of our beloved Pope John Paul II. The blessing is written in calligraphy and also has an official raised seal, our names, date of marriage and the name of the church we were married in. I have our blessing prominently hung on our livingroom wall. I just love looking at it. I'm guaranteed my husband will never forget the date of our wedding anniversary. I've only had to point to it once in the past 9 years. :)

There are a few sketchy methods of how to obtain a Papal Blessing, but I will tell you how we received ours. This method ensures you are receiving the actual blessing, and not some scam. You can obtain blessings for other milestones, such as special Wedding Anniversaries, or priestly ordination. It does take a bit of time to obtain these, so you must plan in advance.

Step 1: Contact your local chancery office in the diocese you live in. Tell the operator you would like the details on how to obtain a Papal Blessing and for what event.

Step 2: Choose from a 8.5 x 11 version or a much larger version (think map size). I chose the smaller version so that I could easily frame and hang it.

Step 3: Gather the required documentation. In our case, we had to get a letter from our pastor that said we were practicing Catholics in good standing with the Church.

Step 4: Send a check (around $40 for the small version) to the address the Chancery gives you. The proceeds go to feed the poor. Allow approximately 6 months to be sure it arrives in time for your special occasion.

More info on obtaining blessings:

Any baptized Catholic can receive a blessing, but they are denied to non-Catholics, to the dead, to inanimate objects, and to animals.

Blessings may be for birthdays, ordinations, religious profession, anniversaries of religious profession, Baptisms, First Communions, Confirmations, conversions, and Catholic weddings and anniversaries of Catholic weddings. Some marriage blessings are denied if you are trying to obtain a blessing on the occasion of your marriage retrospectively, and the current Pope is not the same Pope at the time of your sacrament.

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