Book Review – Consecrations, Blessings and Prayers

Consecrations, Blessings and Prayers: A Pastoral Companion to the Ritual and to the Book of BlessingsConsecrations, Blessings and Prayers – A Pastoral Companion to the Ritual and to the Book of Blessings – Compiled by Sean Finnegan. Canterbury Press £16.99

This is a handy little hardback book filled with lots of helpful prayers for all kinds of pastoral situations. Stemming from the Roman Catholic tradition, there is much here for Anglicans too. Indeed, the compiler hopes in his introduction that the book will be read by those outside the Roman Catholic church who want to discover some of the real meaning of the rites and ceremonies which they may have encountered and previously dismissed as mere superstition. This is not a book of superstition, it is a welcome collection of blessings which can be used to sanctify all kinds of human existence and experience.

What do you say, when called upon to bless an aeroplane or a farm, a scout flag or a couple getting engaged. There are prayers here for all those situations and more. This is no trite book – difficult situations are treated head on. There are sections for deathbed prayers and for meetings likely to be stormy. A form of words is presented which can be used as a “solemn covenant” before going on retreat.

Towards the end of the book, there are liturgical notes to accompany some of the lesser ceremonies of the Christian year. Some of the material presented here comes from the liturgical days of long, long ago. The much loved and oft missed Blessing of the Throats for St Blaise’s day is here and crying out for revival. Alongside that, there is a service for the blessing of pets and prayers for those who suffer from addictions.

Not everyone will like every prayer, but that is not the point. Much of human life is here, and much in the world waits for a blessing in God’s name.

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Published in inspires the magazine of the Scottish Episcopal Church

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