02-25-2018 Sacramentals and Popular Devotions

Our Lady of the Holy Rosary-St. Richard Catholic Church
Journey of Faith
February 25, 2018 - Second Sunday of Lent
Opening Prayer
Scripture Readings
What objects or practices do you use to foster your prayer life and worship of God?

Sacramentals are sacred signs instituted by the Church. They resemble the Sacraments, instituted by Christ, to the extent that they signify spiritual effects that are received through the intercession of the Church. They dispose believers to receive the primary effects of the Sacraments. Sacramentals include blessings, prayers like the Rosary, actions such as processions, and objects such as holy water, palms, ashes, candles, and medals.

Sacramentals were instituted to sanctify (make holy) certain states of life, ministries, and a variety of situations in which Christians are involved. They generally arose from pastoral responses to specific needs that occurred during a particular period of time or place in history. They usually include a prayer and a gesture, such as the Sign of the Cross or the sprinkling of holy water.

Blessings hold a major place among the Sacramentals. There are blessings for people, meals, objects, places, and other special occasions. All blessings are to praise God for the gifts given to us. Most blessings invoke the name of the Holy Trinity.

The faith of the Christian people has developed various forms of popular piety and devotions throughout history that have been shown to be powerful forms of prayer and spiritual benefit. Their purpose is to help us permeate our everyday life with prayer that ultimately leads us to a closer relationship with God and the worship and adoration of God.

These forms of piety include such practices as praying at the Stations of the Cross, pilgrimages to holy places, lighting candles in church, saying grace before meals, having our throats blessed on the feast of St. Blaise, joining in certain spiritual processions, wearing a cross or other medals of the Blessed Mother or saints, and honoring sacred relics.

There are also devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, The Divine Mercy of Jesus or the Blessed Mother that may include novenas (nine days of prayer associated with the devotion). We pray litanies (a series of invocations to the Blessed Mother or Saints). We may also use icons, holy pictures, and statues as support for prayer. We may participate in prayer groups such as Charismatic Renewal or Marriage Encounter that include both a liturgical foundation and a devotional component.

Some materials also form part of liturgical rites such as holy water, incense, and the receipt of ashes on Ash Wednesday or palms on Palm Sunday. The Rosary has a unique place because of its relationship to the mysteries of Christ and the faith of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

*U.S. Catholic Catechism for Adults, Ch. 22.
 Reflect on Your Experience
What Devotions have you practiced?

What Sacramentals do you believe could help you to
permeate your everyday life with prayer?
U.S. Catholic Catechism for Adults   Catecismo Catolico de Los Estadios Unidos para los Adultos  

"Sacramentals - What Are They" 

"3-Minute Theology - Sacramentals"

"Exploring Sacramentals" (Fr. Voithofer)

"Sacramentals and Funerals" - CCC 1667-1690 (Fr. Daniel Mahan)
"God of Wonders"

"Crown Him with Many Crowns"

"Flow River Flow"

"Gather Us In"
Rites, Symbols, & Practices
"Sacramentals (Blessings)" (USCCB)

"Popular Devotional Practices: Basic Questions and Answers" (USCCB)

"Eucharistic Devotion" (USCCB)

"Litanies" (USCCB)

"Prayer" (USCCB)

"Rosaries" (USCCB)

"Mary" (USCCB)

"Saints" (USCCB)

"Stations of the Cross" (USCCB)

"The Divine Mercy"

"The Sacred Heart of Jesus" (EWTN)

"Praying with Icons"

"A Guide to Praying with an Icon" (U.S. Catholic)
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