Catholic Church Teaching: Sacramentals

“Sacramentals are holy things or actions

of which the Church makes use to obtain for us from God,

through its intercession, spiritual and temporal favors.”

  • Sacramentals increase our devotion in the worship of God.

         They include Prayers and Ceremonies of the Church, Objects of Devotion and Blessings.

  • Sacramentals resemble Sacraments – visible signs are used (Holy Water, Sign of the Cross, Rosary), together with a special form of words.
    • These visible signs invoke God’s blessing on persons, places or things, through the prayers of Holy Mother Church. We use these blessed objects to obtain favours from God.
  • Sacramentals are not necessary for salvation, but Sacraments are.
    • They have no power of themselves, but they have power through the virtue of prayers of the Church and our devout disposition.
  • Sacramentals are used to teach the truths of our faith, by sight and by inspiring good thoughts and increasing devotion.
  • Sacramentals are of benefit in times of trouble, pain, danger or temptation.
  • Effects of Sacramentals depend on our pious disposition. Those in mortal sin will not profit from them.

Chief Benefits of Sacramentals:

1. Actual Graces

2. Forgiveness of venial sins (Sacramentals are an aide to true contrition

and contrition obtains forgiveness of   sins).

3. Remission of temporal punishment.

4. Health of body and material blessings.
e.g. The Apostles anointed and healed many people
e.g. Miraculous Medal has had many miracles attributed to it.

5. Protection from evil spirits.

Sacramentals in Scripture:

In the New Testament:
Jesus blessed the loaves and fishes.
Jesus blessed the little children
Jesus blessed the Apostles before the Ascension.

In the Old Testament:
God blessed Adam and Eve
Noah blessed his sons
Isaac blessed Jacob
Moses blessed the tribes of Israel


Holy oils, Holy water, Blessed salt, candles, ashes, palms,

Crosses and Crucifixes, Scapulars, Medals,

Rosaries, Holy pictures,

Bells, Sacred Vessels, vestments, altar linens


Pregnant mothers. Sick people, Before an operation, At the end of Mass,

Last blessing before death, Remains of the dead, Nuptial blessing

Consecration of kings, monks and nuns

Parents blessing their children


Churches, chapels, altars, cemeteries, houses, workplaces, farms – crops, fields


Blessings for cars, planes, libraries.

Sign of the Cross.

“We should ask the priest to bless everything we use and have.

(…) By Sacramental blessings, we consecrate to God all we are and have” (My Catholic Faith p.367)

“Whether you eat or drink, or do anything else, do all for the glory of God.”(1 Cor. 10:31)

Source: My Catholic Faith by Most Rev Louis LaRavoire Morrow, S.T.D. (1954)