8. BLESSING OF PILGRIMS

before they set out for the holy shrines

In accord with ancient ecclesiastical discipline, pilgrims who are to visit the holy shrines should obtain a letter of recommendation from their Ordinary or pastor before they set out. Having put their affairs in order, they prepare themselves with sacramental confession, assist at Mass and receive holy communion. In this Mass the Collect for pilgrims (pro re gravi) is said. After Mass they kneel before the priest who says the following (for the music see the music supplement):

Antiphon: May the almighty and merciful Lord lead you in the way of peace and prosperity. May the Angel Raphael be your companion on the journey and bring you back to your homes in peace, health, and happiness.

Then the Canticle of Zachary is said; and after the canticle the above antiphon is repeated. Then the priest continues:

Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Our Father (the rest inaudibly until:)

P: And lead us not into temptation.

All: But deliver us from evil.

P: Save your servants.

All: Who trust in you, my God.

P: Lord, send them aid from your holy place.

All: And watch over them from Sion.

P: Let them find in you, Lord, a fortified tower.

All: In the face of the enemy.

P: Let the enemy have no power over them.

All: And the son of iniquity be powerless to harm them.

P: May the Lord be praised at all times.

All: May God, our helper, grant us a happy journey.

P: Lord, shows us your ways.

All: And lead us along your paths.

P: Oh, that our life be bent.

All: On keeping your precepts.

P: For the crooked ways will be made straight.

All: And the rough places plain.

P: God has given His angels charge over you.

All: To guard you in all your undertakings.

P: Lord, heed my prayer.

All: And let my cry be heard by you.

P: The Lord be with you.

All: May He also be with you.

Let us pray.

God, who led the children of Israel dry-shod through the sea, and showed the way to the three Magi by the guidance of a star; grant these pilgrims, we pray, a happy journey and peaceful days, so that, with your holy angel as a guide, they may safely reach their destination and finally come to the haven of everlasting salvation.

God, who led your servant, Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldeans, and kept him safe in all his wanderings; may it please you, we pray, also to watch over these servants of yours. Be to them, Lord, a help in their preparations, comfort on the way, shade in the heat, shelter in the rain and cold, a carriage in tiredness, a shield in adversity, a staff in insecurity, a haven in shipwreck; so that under your guidance they may happily reach their destination, and finally return safe to their homes.

Lord, we beg you to hear our request that you guide the steps of your servants along the path of well-being that comes from you, and that in the midst of this fickle world they may always live under your protection.

Grant, we pray, O almighty God, that your family of pilgrims find a safe route; and heeding the admonitions of blessed John, the precursor, come finally to Him whom John foretold, your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Hear, Lord, our prayers, and kindly accompany your servants on their journey; and as you are present everywhere lend them your aid at all times, so that with you as their shield they will be defended from all dangers and pay you their homage of gratitude; through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.

May the peace and blessing of almighty God, Father, Son, + and Holy Spirit, come upon you and remain with you forever.

All: Amen.

They are sprinkled with holy water.

If there is only one pilgrim the prayers are said in the singular; but if the priest who bestows the blessing is a member of the pilgrimage they are said in the plural.