In an earlier post (Liturgical Face Masks, 5/24/20) I suggested that we might bless face masks, since we will be wearing them for some time — including in church — as the pandemic continues.
No one took me up on the suggestion, so I wrote one myself. I offer it here for you to use or adapt as you see fit. Or you might write one yourself. As churches re-open, I think the blessing of face masks would be a welcome gesture.
Father of Mercy,
You willed that all people should have life and have it abundantly.
You call us to care for one another, putting the needs of our neighbor on a par with our own.
Bless these face masks + which we wear during this time of pandemic.
May they protect us, and all those we encounter, from the threat of Covid-19.
May those who wear them never bring harm upon anyone, knowingly or unknowingly,
by spreading this terrible disease.
Holy Spirit, grant us a peaceful heart.
Teach us patience.
Help us turn to you in prayer when we are irritable or afraid,
or when the journey seems too long for us.
May all our efforts to guard and protect one another in charity
become a shining witness to the love of Jesus Christ,
for he is Lord forever and ever.
As an aside, I’d like to mention that although I didn’t discover any Catholic blessings for face masks on line, I did see examples of Jews and Buddhists who incorporate blessings into face mask use.
This one from Rabbi Michael Knopf is interesting. He argues that wearing a mask during a pandemic and other acts of responsible care for life are mitzvot and therefore should be accompanied by a blessing. Here is the one he composed.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְ‑יָ אֱ‑לֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ עַל שְּׁמִירַת הַנֶּפֶשׁ
Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha-olam, asher keed’shanu b’meetzvotav, v’tzeevanu al sh’meerat ha-nefesh.
“You are bountiful, Infinite our God, majesty of space and time, who has sanctified us with divine commandments and has commanded us about protecting life.”
There are also Thai Buddhist monks who are emblazoning a blessing on the masks they make from recycled materials. It reads: “To know the problem is to find a way to end the suffering.”