The celebration of blessings holds a privileged place among all the sacramentals created by the Church for the pastoral benefit of the Church.
As a liturgical action, the celebration leads the faithful to praise God. By celebrating a blessing, the faithful can also sanctify various situations, events, persons, and things in their lives.
Blessings are signs that have God’s word as their basis and that are celebrated from motives of faith. They are meant to declare and to make manifest the newness of life in Christ that has its origin and growth in the sacraments of the Church. Above all, blessings are signs of spiritual effects that are achieved through the Church’s intercessions.
In the present Rite of Blessings, the celebration consists of three parts: first, the proclamation of the Word of God, and second, the praise of God’s goodness and the petition for His help. Finally, there are prayers and rites proper to each celebration. Outward signs that are often employed are the outstretching and laying on of hands, the sign of the cross, the sprinkling of holy water and, at times, incensation, which is a sign of veneration and honor.
The quality of life is enhanced by the various means of overcoming distance and of making it possible for people to come together for meetings, visits, and other forms of social contact. A blessing provides an opportunity to praise God for giving us such benefits and to pray for the safety of those who will use them.
In the Book of Blessings, elements are provided for special celebration to present a car or other means of transportation at a church, in order to ask for a blessing as a pledge of God’s protection during travel. The rite is ordinarily used by a priest or deacon, but can be used by a lay minister or a lay person, though a benediction cannot be employed. Lay people should always use holy water that has been blessed by a priest or deacon.
Blessings of common objects, such as cars, are a rich symbol of faith. Everything has been given to us by God, and we are merely the custodians of material things. When an object is blessed, we are reminded of the many graces and privileges God bestows upon us. Without the grace of God, we could not exist, nor would we be in possession of these material things.
Therefore, everything gives glory and honor to the Almighty. Blessings of objects must flow from a person’s deep faith. It is an external sign of a practicing Catholic’s belief in the Fatherly protection.