How to obtain a Papal blessing

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Obtaining a Papal blessing is a special way to celebrate an important life occasion for Catholics. Birthdays, baptisms, weddings, First Communion and conversions are accepted occasions for a blessing, although births and deaths are not.

The blessing comes in certificate form from the Office of Papal Charities at the Vatican. Applications for a blessing take time, so some advance planning is needed.

Contact your parish priest for a letter certifying you are a practising Catholic and regular church attendee.

Allow six to eight weeks to process the application. An express service of one to two weeks is available at extra cost. Prices start from £22 for the parchment plus £5.50 for postage and packing.

Contact the diocesan office for your area that handles blessing applications. Your priest can advise you about this. For example, St. Paul's Bookshop beside Westminster Cathedral in London handles the application process.

Select the design, style and parchment type from the available range. Designs range from those suited to weddings and birthdays to more religious occasions.

Give the following details to the diocesan office handling the application: Full name or names of blessing recipient Occasion for the blessing Date of the occasion Name of parish church Address for delivery of blessing.

Alternatively, visit the Office of Papal Charities within the Vatican to make an application in person.

Entrance to the office is through St.Anne's Gate and it is open between 9:00 to 12:00 noon, Monday to Saturday.

Bring your letter of certification and other information with you.