A bestselling author and leading expert on the Catholic priesthood, Msgr. Stephen J. Rossetti forges a renewed theology of priestly blessing, encouraging his brother priests to embrace the habit of blessing people, objects, and events. In this provocative and inspirational book he shows how the blessing is integral to the identity of priests and crucial to the spiritual wellbeing of all the faithful.
Msgr. Stephen Rossetti fears that many priests shy away from blessing people and objects because of a lack of awareness of the rich tradition of Church blessings and a deficit in training for this important pastoral practice. In The Priestly Blessing,Rossetti urges priests to boldly and frequently embrace this ancient practice because of their unique calling.
Rossetti traces the history of blessing in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. He also explores the various types of blessing, such as praise of God, the invocation of special benefit from God, and being consecrated to God.
The Priestly Blessing also helps priests reflect on what saints and mystics have taught about blessing as a vital activity of the Church, and outlines connections between Catholic sacramental theology, the practice of priestly blessing, and the Catholic understanding of creation that helps make sense of priests blessing objects and animals.
"Rich in insights."
"I am confident that this book, rich in insights, will accentuate once again the beauty and power of blessings, and help us all rediscover the gift of these encounters with the Lord."
From the foreword by Cardinal Donald Wuerl
Archbishop of Washington
"Informative and wonderfully inspiring."
"'Then he led them (out) as far as Bethany, raised his hands, and blessed them. As he blessed them he parted from them and was taken up to heaven' (Lk 24:50-51). The first disciples recalled Jesus' Ascension culminating in his blessing them. The Church has continued that tradition of bestowing blessings upon people, things, and events. Stephen J. Rossetti has prepared a truly helpful text that traces the practice as an important part of the Church’s ongoing ministry in Jesus’ name. All those who have the privilege of bestowing a blessing will find the book both informative and wonderfully inspiring."
Most Rev. Wilton D. Gregory
Archbishop of Atlanta
"Recoups the beauty and understanding of blessings as a sign of spiritual richness in the life of the Church."
"In The Priestly Blessing, Msgr. Stephen Rossetti successfully calls upon the long tradition of the Church in her understanding of the meaning and pastoral nature of priestly blessings. While acknowledging the unique power of a blessing vested in the ordained priesthood, he also sets forth the conditions under which the laity and deacons can give blessings. Rossetti recoups the beauty and understanding of blessings as a sign of spiritual richness in the life of the Church."
Msgr. Peter J. Vaghi
Pastor of Church of the Little Flower
"A wonderful book that will give grace to many."
"Stephen J. Rossetti has both written and bestowed a blessing to clergy everywhere. He has provided the biblical rationale, the pastoral preparation, and a passionate charge for clergy to be blessing their flocks at every occasion. From one who prepares permanent deacons for ordination, this is an excellent text for deacon candidates in their formative years. For those who ask for a blessing, and for those who have the (rediscovered) joy of giving a blessing, this is a wonderful book that will give grace to many."
Deacon Rick Bauer
Academic dean and instructor of sacred scripture
Permanent Diaconate Formation Program
Diocese of Colorado Springs
"An engaging invitation."
"Stephen J. Rossetti offers an engaging invitation to rediscover the value of the ample use of blessings by clergy and also explores appropriate use of blessings by the laity. From its biblical roots to the present, a blessing connects us with the Giver of all blessings in a spirit of gratitude and petition."
Most Rev. Timothy P. Broglio
Archbishop for the Military Services, USA
"It is a gift to the Church."
"Msgr. Stephen Rossetti has written a reflection that is most encouraging and helpful for parish priests. We can easily forget the beautiful gifts that God gave us at our ordination for the benefit of his people and our own sanctification. Here is a book that reminds us of the beauty and efficacy of the priestly blessing, and blessings in general. It is a wonderful combination of what is theological and pastoral, educating and edifying. It is a gift to the Church."
Msgr Charles Pope
Pastor of Holy Comforter-St Cyprian Roman Catholic Church
"Stephen J. Rossetti has done us a favor."
"Stephen J. Rossetti has done us a favor in redirecting our attention to the sublime gift of sacramental blessings. Every Catholic experiences this gift but few of us have taken the time to consider it fully. This book lays out the scriptural foundations for blessings. It also gives us insight into the ecclesial dimensions and liturgical renewal that took place not so long ago. May this book lead us not only to rediscover the gift but also to a renewal of the ministry and the sanctification of God’s people."
Rev. Keith Kenney
Pastor of St Margaret Mary Catholic Church
Bullhead City, Arizona