My husband was pleased that I had my 1963 Volkswagen Beetle blessed by a Catholic priest. That’s because it’s not the safest car, especially when I’m behind the wheel. We looked at it as a measure of protection. Catholics can have a variety of things blessed—motorcycles, animals, houses, monuments, rosaries, religious medals, even radio stations. A little holy water goes a long way.
For some reason, when a Catholic priest advertises that he’s going to bless cell phones, it receives world-wide attention. [See here and here, for example]. This weekend, a priest in France is going to bless cell phones at a Mass for the Feast of Pentecost. World-wide reports ensue. [See here and here, for example]. The Pentecost theme makes sense because the Holy Spirit compels us to spread the Good News. These days, we spread a lot of news on our various mobile communication devices. So why not get them blessed?
According to another French priest who has blessed electronic devices at his parish in the past:
“Everybody has a mobile phone, and it is the Church’s duty to bless those things that help people in their daily lives…Blessing smartphones is a reminder to Christians that their mobile devices can be used to do good in the community,” and once blessed, they fall under the protection of the Archangel Gabriel, the Catholic patron saint of messengers, he said.
While priests may start to broaden their horizons on modern items to bless, the actual book of blessings the Church provides does not exactly account for the new fangled gadgets out there–not specifically, anyway. Which precise blessing does a priest choose from among the many offered by the Church? Back in 2009, Fr. Z gave some thoughtful attention to that question in context of this business of blessing cell phones:
There are blessings for Telegraph machines in the older Rituale. And iPhones are used for e-mails and SMSs. There is a blessing for a radio station, and the iPhone does broadcast and receive.
This is why we do need an updated book with blessings for some modern things not even in the imagination of those who originally worked with the Rituale Romanum. . .
I guess you could use the blessing “For all things”, but I rather like the idea of a little adaptation to those I mentioned above.
I once blessed the hardware going into someone’s knee-replacement. I used the blessing for mountain climbing equipment.
I am ever the optimist.