Adoremus, Society for the Renewal of the Sacred Liturgy
Order for the Blessing of a New Cross
For Public Veneration
Excerpt from Book of Blessings – Chapter 35
This selection describes the significance of the image of the Cross of Jesus Christ, and notes that "the cross should preferably be a crucifix, that is have the corpus [the image of Christ’s body] attached".
1233 – Of all sacred images the "figure of the precious, life-giving cross of Christ" (18) is preeminent, because it is the symbol of the entire Paschal mystery. The cross is the image most cherished by the Christian people and the most ancient; it represents Christ’s suffering and victory and at the same time, as the Fathers of the Church have taught, it points to his Second Coming.
1234 – On Good Friday the cross is presented to the faithful for their adoration and on the feast of the Triumph of the Cross, 14 September, it is honored as the symbol of Christ’s victory and the tree of life. But the cross also is the sign under which the people gather whenever they come to church and in the homes of the baptized it holds a place of honor. When the times and local conditions permit, the faithful erect a cross in a public place as an attestation of their faith and a reminder of the love with which God has loved us.
1235 – The image of the cross should preferably be a crucifix, that is, have the corpus attached, especially in the case of a cross that is erected in a place of honor inside a church.
1236 – The present order may be used by a priest. While maintaining the structure and chief elements of the rite, the celebrant should adapt the celebration to the circumstances of the place and the people involved. When, as is desirable, the bishop is the celebrant, everything should be adapted accordingly.
1237 – The blessing of a new cross may be celebrated at any hour and on any day, except Ash Wednesday, the Easter Triduum, and All Souls day. But the preferred day is one that permits a large attendance of the faithful. They should receive proper preparation for their active participation in the rite.
1238 – The order presented in this chapter is meant for only two situations:
1 the solemn blessing of a cross erected in a public place, separate from a church;
2 the blessing of the principal cross that occupies a central place in the body of the church where the worshiping community assembles.
18 Council of Nicaea II, Act.7: Mansi 13, 378; Denzinger-Schoenmetzer, no. 601.
Book of Blessings – Published by authority of the Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy, National Conference of Catholic Bishops. Copyright ©1989 by the Order of St. Benedict, Inc., Collegeville, Minnesota.
Decrees on the Book of Blessings
National Conference of Catholic Bishops United States of America – Decree on the Book of Blessings
In accord with the norms established by decree of the Sacred Congregation of Rites in Cum, nostra aetae (27 January 1966), this edition of the Book of Blessings containing the additional proper blessings approved for use in the United States of America is declared to be the vernacular typical edition of De Benedictionibus in the dioceses of the United States of American, and is published by authority of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The Book of Blessings and the additional proper blessings for use in the United States of America were canonically approved for use ad interim by the Administrative Committee of the national Conference of Catholic Bishops on 22 March 1988 and were subsequently confirmed by the Apostolic See by decree of the Congregation for Divine Worship on 27 January 1989 (Prot. N. 699/88).
On 1 Ocober 1989 the Book of Blessings may be published and used in the liturgy. From 3 December 1989, the First Sunday of Advent, the use of the Book of Blessings is mandatory in the dioceses of the United States of merica. From that day forward no other English version may be used.
Given at the General Secretariat of the national Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC, on 19 March 1989, the solemnity of Saint Joseph, Husband of Mary.
John L. May
Archbishop of Saint Louis
President, National Conference of Catholic Bishops
Robert N. Lynch
Congregation for Divine Worship Decree
Prot. N. 699/88
At the request of His Excellency John L. May, Archbishop of St. Louis and President of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, on 19 January 989, and in virtue of the faculty granted to this Congregation by the Supreme Pontiff, Pope John Paul II, we gladly approve, that is confirm ad interim the English text of De Benedictionibus (Green Book), as it appears in the appended copy.
In addition we gladly approve, that is, confirm the proper Supplement to this book, as it appears in the apprended copy.This decree, by which the requested confirmation is granted by the Apostolic See, is to be included in its entirety in the published text. Two copies of the printed text should be sent to this Congregation.
Anything to the contrary notwithstanding.
From the Congregation for Divine Worship, 27 January 1989.
Eduardo Cardinal Martinez – Prefect
Virgilio Noe – Titular Archbishop of Voncaria – Secretary