It was our understanding that water can only be blessed — made “holy” — by a priest or deacon.
What about laity? Do they not bless food with grace at a meal, and when they use the Sign of the Cross?
Some take the stand that they too can bless water (consult your pastor).
One of these is the devout Marian website, Forums of the Virgin Mary, in Italy.
Here’s another view. “Of course they are!” it holds. “Remember by our Baptism, all lay Christians, Catholic, and validly baptized non-Catholic Christians, whether they are in good standing with the Church or not, have the ability to bless other people and ask the Lord to bless objects as well. The only exception to this is made in the Catechism:
. . . The more a blessing concerns [the] ecclesial and sacramental life, the more is its administration reserved to the ordained ministry (bishops, priests, or deacons). [For our discernment. When in doubt, ask your pastor!]
“Many people believe that holy water can only be truly blessed by an ordained priest.
“But a faithful man can bless his own water.
The difference between the Holy Water by a priest and the blessed by a layperson is that the priest’s has behind the merits of the Church and that of the layperson only its own merits.
So it is always preferable to have Holy Water blessed by a priest.
And how can you do it?
Get some water from a natural source if possible.
Put the water in an open container like a large bowl.
You can also use tap water or bottled water if you don’t have a natural source.
Springwater is also a good option.
A prayer to bless the water can be this:
“Almighty God, source and origin of the life of the soul and the body, bless this water (make the sign of the cross on the water), which we are going to use with faith to implore the forgiveness of our sins and reach the help of your grace against all sickness and snares of the enemy.
“Grant us, Lord, by Your mercy, that the waters always live, spring up saving, so that we can approach you with a clean heart and avoid all danger of soul and body.
Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord, Amen”
The prayer to exorcise the water could be this,
“I exorcise you, creature of water, in the name of God, omnipotent Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, his Son, Our Lord, and with the power of the Holy Spirit, so that you may be exorcised water to drive away all enemy forces and to May you eradicate and uproot the same enemy with his apostate angels, by virtue of Jesus Christ our Lord himself, who is to come to judge the living and the dead by fire. Amen.”
Said the Archdiocese of Sydney, Australia, addressing such issues several years back:
“Can laypeople give blessings, and if so, what are they? Can a lay person make the sign of the cross over someone? Can children bless their parents?
“There are different types of blessings:
- Constitutive. These permanently bring about the dedication of a person or object in the service of the Church. For example the blessing of an altar.
- Invocative. These ask God for help to those who are in need or those who will use certain objects.
“Who is the proper person to bless depends on the type of blessing? Objects for general use in a parish or diocese are normally blessed by the bishop. For example, the dedication of an altar, the blessing of the oils on Holy Thursday.
“Blessings that are more limited, such as religious objects, homes, etcetera are normally carried out by a priest or deacon. Blessing for the life of a family are done by parents. For example, the blessing before a meal, the blessing of children.
“Making the Sign of the Cross over a person would normally only be done by a deacon, priest or bishop. But a lay person can use the formula of Father, Son and Holy Spirit if you wish. Normally it would be a parent, in view of their authority over their children, who would bless a child, not a child their parents.