A basket of herbs and fruits waits before the sanctuary to be made a sacramental on the Feast of the Assumption

a The Blessing


herbs & Fruits a


On the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary


Fr. Charles Higgins incenses the herbs and fruits as part of the blessing ritual.

On August 15, 2000, Holy Trinity retrieved one of the most ancient customs associated with a Marian feast by having herbs and fruits blessed on the Feast of the Assumption (see Program below). Over a third of the congregation arrived with herbs or fruits, either bought from the store or grown in their own gardens, to be blessed by the priest before Mass. In an impressive ceremony, the celebrant, Fr. Charles Higgins, invited the faithful to approach the communion rail, where-
upon he blessed these fruits of the earth so that they could be taken home and used for health of body and soul. The faithful at Holy Trinity were grateful for this celebration, even though most of them had never seen it before. (The blessing has been in the Rituale Romanum for centuries, but was rarely used in the U.S. It has, however, been faithfully

Approximately one-third of the hundred congregants for the 7 p.m. Mass of the Assumption brought something for the blessing.

celebrated by parts of Europe and by the Eastern churches from time immemorial). After the blessing, the congregants returned to their pews and Fr. Higgins celebrated a beautiful Mass honoring the Queen of Heaven on her most solemn feast day.


a The Blessing of herbs & Fruits a

On the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

[Program of Ceremony]

Since the earliest centuries, Christians from both East and West have blessed herbs and fruit on the Feast of the Assumption in the belief that these sacramentals provide protection against harm and danger. As the prayers below suggest, this custom hearkens back to the Mosaic Law and teaches us something about our Lady's role in the economy of salvation. Eve foolishly used herbs (fig leaves) to hide and aggravate her sin, thereby bringing about a disorder of body and soul. By contrast, Mary, the new Eve whose soul and body are untouched by sin or the decay of death (as we celebrate today), foreshadows a healing of our corporeal frailties, a healing represented by herbs. Likewise, fruits are an appropriate symbol for the new Eve because she never ate of the forbidden fruit but brought forth only the fruit of good works and, most importantly, the Fruit of her womb, Jesus Christ. The fruit blessed today thus betokens the fruit of a holy and generous life which we are called to enjoy from our Lord through the patronage of His mother.

The priest enters the sanctuary and invites those with herbs and fruits to
approach the altar rail. The servers and congregation make the responses.

v . Adjutorium nostrum in nomine Domini.
r . Qui fecit cælum et terram.
v . Our help is in the name of the Lord.
r . Who made heaven and earth.
Te decet hymnus, Deus, in Sion: * et tibi reddetur votum in Jerusalem.

A hymn, O God, becometh Thee in Sion: and a vow shall be paid to Thee in Jerusalem.

Exaudi orationem: * ad te omnis caro veniet.

O hear my prayer: all flesh shall come to Thee.

Verba iniquorum prævaluerunt super nos: * et impietatibus nostris tu propitiaberis.

The words of the wicked have prevailed over us: and Thou wilt pardon our transgressions.

Beatus, quem elegisti, et adsumpsisti: * inhabitabit in atriis tuis.

Blessed is he whom Thou hast chosen and taken to Thee: he shall dwell in Thy courts.

Replebimur in bonis domus tuæ: * sanctum est templum tuum, mirabile in æquitate.

We shall be filled with the good things of Thy house; holy is Thy temple, wonderful in justice.

Exaudi nos, Deus, salutaris noster, * spes omnium finium terræ, et in mari longe.

Hear us, God our saviour, who art the hope of all the ends of the earth, and in the sea afar off.

Præparans montes in virtute tua, accinctus potentia: * qui conturbas profundum maris sonum fluctuum ejus.

Thou who preparest the mountains by Thy strength, being girded with power: Who troublest the depth of the sea, the noise of its waves.

Turbabuntur gentes, et timebunt qui inhabitant terminos a signis tuis: * exitus matutini et vespere delectabis.

The gentiles shall be troubled, and they that dwell in the uttermost borders shall be afraid at Thy signs: Thou shalt make the outgoings of the morning and evening to be joyful.

Visitasti terram et inebriasti eam: * multiplicasti locupletare eam.

Thou hast visited the earth, and hast plentifully watered it; Thou hast many ways enriched it.

Flumen Dei repletum est aquis, parasti cibum illorum: * quoniam ita est præparatio ejus.

The river of God is filled with water, Thou hast prepared their food: for so is its preparation.

Rivos ejus inebria, multiplica genimina eius: * in stillicidiis ejus lætabitur germinans.

Fill up plentifully the streams thereof, multiply its fruits; it shall spring up and rejoice in its showers.

Benedices coronæ anni benignitatis tuæ: * et campi tui replebuntur ubertate.

Thou shalt bless the crown of the year of thy goodness: and Thy fields shall be filled with plenty.

Pinguescent speciosa deserti: * et exsultatione colles accingentur.

The beautiful places of the wilderness shall grow fat: and the hills shall be girded about with joy.

Induti sunt arietes ovium, et valles abundabunt frumento: * clamabunt, etenim hymnum dicent.

The rams of the flock are clothed, and the vales shall abound with corn: they shall shout, yea they shall sing a hymn.

 Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto.

r . Sicut erat in principio et nunc et semper et in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

Glory be to the Father.

r . As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

v . Dominus dabit benignitatem.
r . Et terra nostra dabit fructum suum.
v . The Lord shall give goodness.
r. And our earth shall yield her fruit.
v . Rigans montes de superioribus suis.
r . De fructu operum tuorum satiabitur terra.

v . Thou waterest the hills from Thy upper rooms.
r . The earth shall be filled with the fruit of Thy works.

v . Producens fænum jumentis.
r . Et herbam servituti hominum.
v . Bringing forth grass for cattle.
r . And herb for the service of men.
v . Ut educas panem de terra.
r . Et vinum lætificet cor hominis.

v . That Thou mayest bring bread out of the earth.
r . And that wine may cheer the heart of man.

v . Ut exhilaret faciem in oleo.
r . Et panis cor hominis confirmet.

v . That he may make the face cheerful with oil.
r . And that bread may strengthen man's heart.

v . Misit verbum suum, et sanavit eos.
r . Et eripuit eos de omnibus interitionibus eorum.
v . He sent His word and healed them.
r . And delivered them from their destructions.
v . Domine, exaudi orationem meam.
r . Et clamor meus ad te veniat.
v . O Lord, hear my prayer.
r . And my cry shall come unto thee.
v . Dominus vobiscum.
r . Et cum spiritu tuo.
v . The Lord be with you.
r . And with thy spirit.

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui cælum, terram, mare, visibilia et invisibilia verbo tuo ex nihilo creasti, quique herbas, arboresque ad usus hominum animaliumque terram gignere, et unumquodque juxta sementem in semetipso fructum habere præcepisti; atque non solum ut herbæ animantibus ad victum, sed ægris etiam corporibus prodessent ad medicamentum, tua ineffabili pietate concessisti: te supplici mente et ore deprecamur, ut has diversi generis herbas et fructus tua clementia beneX dicas, et supra naturalem a te inditam virtutem, eis benedictionis tuæ novæ gratiam infundas; ut ad usum hominibus et jumentis in nomine tuo applicatæ, omnium morborum et adversitatum efficiantur præsidium. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum, Filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum.
r . Amen.

Let us pray.

Almighty, everlasting God, who by Thy Word hast created out of nothing heaven, earth, sea, visible and invisible things; who hast commanded the earth to bring forth herbs and trees for the use of men and animals and for them to have fruit each according to its kind; and who hast granted out of Thine unspeakable mercy for these to serve not only as food for the living, but as medicine for sick bodies: with mind and mouth we humbly implore Thee to bless X with Thy clemency these herbs and fruits of various kinds, and to pour forth upon their natural power already given by Thee the grace of Thy new blessing; that when used by men and beasts who apply them in Thy name, they may provide protection against all disease and adversity. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God unto endless ages.
r . Amen.


Deus, qui per Moysen famulum tuum mandasti filiis Israel, ut manipulos novorum fructuum benedicendos deferrent ad sacerdotes, tollerentque fructus arboris pulcherrimæ, et lætarentur coram te Domino Deo suo: adesto propitius invocationibus nostris, et infunde tuæ beneX dictionis abundantiam super nos, et super manipulos novarum frugum, novarum herbarum, et fructuum collectionem, quæ cum gratiarum actione tibi repræsentamus, et in nomine tuo in hac sollemnitate beneXdicimus; et concede, ut hominibus, pecoribus, pecudibus et jumentis contra morbos, pestes, ulcera, maleficia, incantationes, veneficia serpentum, et aliorum venenosorum animalium et bestiarum morsus, nec non quæcumque venena, remedium præstant; atque contra diabolicas illusiones, et machinationes, et fraudes tutamen ferant, in quocumque loco positum vel portatum aut habitum aliquid ex eis fuerit: quatenus cum manipulis bonorum operum, meritis beatæ Mariæ Virginis, cujus Assumptionis festum colimus, quo ipsa assumpta est, suscipi mereamur. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum.
r . Amen.

Let us pray.

O God, who by Moses Thy servant didst command the children of Israel to carry their sheaves of new fruits to the priests for a blessing, to take the finest fruits of the orchards, and to make merry before Thee, the Lord their God: Kindly hear our supplications, and pour forth the abundance of Thy blessing X upon us and upon these sheaves of new grain, new herbs, and assortment of fruits, which we gratefully present to Thee and which we bless X on this feast in Thy name. And grant that men, cattle, sheep, and beasts of burden may find in them a remedy against sickness, pestilence, sores, injuries, spells, the poison of snakes, and the bites of other venomous and non-venomous creatures. And may they bring protection against diabolical illusions, machinations, and decep-tions wherever they are kept or carried, or with whatever arran-gement is made of them: that with sheaves of good works and through the merits of the Blessed Virgin Mary whose Feast of the Assumption we celebrate, we may deserve to be lifted up to heaven. Through our Lord Jesus Christ.
r . Amen.


Deus, qui virgam Jesse, Genetricem Filii tui Domini nostri Jesu Christi, hodierna die ad cælorum fastigia ideo evexisti, ut per ejus suffragia et patrocinia fructum ventris illius, eundem Filium tuum, mortalitati nostræ communicares: te supplices exoramus; ut ejusdem Filii tui virtute, ejusque Genetricis glorioso patrocinio, istorum terræ fructuum præsidiis per temporalem ad æternam salutem disponamur. Per eundem Dominum nostrum.
r. Amen.

Let us pray.

O God, who on this day didst raise up to the heights of heaven the rod of Jesse, the mother of Thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ, that through her prayers and patronage Thou mightest commu-nicate to our mortality the Fruit of her womb, Thy Son: we humbly pray that by the power of Thy Son and the glorious patronage of His Mother, we may be so affected by the aid of these fruits of the land as to proceed from temporal to eternal welfare. Through the same Jesus Christ.
r . Amen.

Et benedictio Dei omnipotentis, Patris, et Filii, X et Spiritus Sancti, descendat super has creaturas, et maneat semper.
r. Amen.

And may the blessing of Almighty God, Father, Son, X and Holy Spirit, descend upon these creatures and remain forever.
r . Amen.

They are sprinkled with holy water and incensed.


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