Pope invites U.S. Bishops to extend blessing

In a recent letter sent to pastors and pastoral administrators, Bishop David B. Thompson wrote, “During my visit to St. Louis recently for the Holy Father’s visit there was a very special blessing which I should like to share with all the faithful of the Diocese of Charleston.”

The Bishop continues, “His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, invited us bishops to extend his blessing to all our people. I ask that you do this at all Sunday Masses celebrated on the Saturday and Sunday of February 20-21, the First Sunday of Lent….”

Solemn Apostolic Blessing

When the prayer after Communion has been said, the deacon (or in his absence, the priest) announces the papal blessing in the following or similar words:

By the grace of God and the Apostolic See, solemnly acclaiming the pope’s visit to the United States, an apostolic blessing will now be imparted in the name of the Holy Father to all present. You are asked to pray to God for our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, for our Bishop, David, and for Holy Mother Church. You are encouraged to strive, by holiness of life, to walk in full communion with the church.

The presiding priest greets the people saying:

The Lord be with you.

And also with you.

The deacon (or priest) then invites the people please to:

Bow your heads and pray for God’s blessing.

The presiding priest, with hands outstretched over the people, pronounces the apostolic blessing:

The Father of Mercies has given us an example of unselfish love in the sufferings of his only Son. Through your service of God and neighbor may you receive his countless blessings.


You believe that by his dying Christ destroyed death for ever.

May he give you everlasting life.


He humbled Himself for our sakes. May you follow his example and share in his resurrection.


Through the intercession of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul, may Almighty God bless you, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.


The dismissal concludes in the usual manner.