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The following appeared on my facebook feed today:

The "what random things do we have short formulated prayers for" game is almost as funny as the "how many bizarre things do we have patron saints of" game.

I seriously just found a blessing for bacon. Specifically for bacon.

"Bless, O Lord, this bacon, that it may be a meritious food for Thy children, and grant that through the invocation of Thy holy name all those who eat of it may obtain prosperity, health, and preservation of their souls, through Christ our Lord. Amen. "

I realize that for Baptists, this is totally acceptable. We can pray about anything, and since potluck is a sacrament, and if you take out the "preservation of their souls," probably has been done. We can pray about anything. And, we wing it a lot. For Catholics, however, I assume there is a little more rigour around making a prayer "official."

So, several questions came to mind in regards to this question, all centered around the legitimacy of this claim and authentication thereof.

  1. Is this actually a thing, or is someone pulling my leg? (Note: this link appears to substantiate it)
  2. How would I find out?
  3. Who within the heirarchy has the ability to declare an official "blessing for bacon?"
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So I Googled - and found this: catholic.org/prayers/prayer.php?p=371. I have to wonder, is there a patron Saint for this as well? –  IndigoGirl Oct 30 '13 at 13:31
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@IndigoGirl That prayer [actually included in the question too!] is very similar to AG's quote. But if it were ancient, I would expect a search for "Benedicat Domine hanc lardum" to yield at least one result. It doesn't. –  Andrew Leach Oct 30 '13 at 13:40
    
I think #3 is the most important part of this question; and depending on that answer, the rest of the question may be moot. –  Flimzy Oct 30 '13 at 14:12
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Saint Brigit has a bacon miracle - she was preparing a meal for her family, and fed some of the bacon to her dog, but still had the correct number of pieces to feed everyone in the end. I therefore nominate her as the patron saint of bacon. –  James T Oct 30 '13 at 14:22
    
Ha...they don't teach this in ccd where I'm from. Sounds to me like this prayer was written down some where by a drunk Irishman around Christmas time :))) –  Charles Alsobrook Oct 30 '13 at 15:08

2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

I really like this question.

It draws attention to an important point to be made, which is, of all the things explicitly managed by the Church, personal prayer is relatively low on the list.

As a Catholic belonging to a predominately Southern Baptist extended family (most of them consider fried chicken a sacrament in lieu of potluck), I must constantly remind myself that the Church can appear from the outside to be rather rigid.

The truth is that, although the Church explicitly defines the rituals surrounding the Sacraments and sacramentals, personal devotion and prayer is, for the most part wide open.

Can a Catholic pray a spontaneous prayer? Absolutely! – as long as it is not inappropriately interruptive. (e.g. not during functions such as weddings, funerals, Mass, etc.)

Can Catholics “wing” prayers? Sure…I know I have a time or two. My priest does all the time.

In all reality, my blessings aren't that much different than that of my ordained Baptist Brother-in-Law.

Is this “bacon prayer” an “official prayer” of the Catholic Church? No.

From what I can tell, this is, at best, a prayer of a particular localized pious tradition. The closest “official prayer” I can find of this nature is found in the RITUALE ROMANUM, which is a collection of the "officially approved" prayers to be used in the Church’s official rituals.

Blessings of animals

Lord God, King of heaven and earth, Word of the Father by whom were made all creatures destined for our sustenance; we beg you to look with favor on our lowly condition; and as you have given us assistance in our work and in our needs, so may you bless, shield, and watch over these animals (this animal) with your mercy and heavenly care. And to us, your servants, be pleased to give everlasting grace together with creature needs, thus enabling us to praise and glorify and offer thanks to your holy name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

The standard prayer for blessing soon to be eaten food (including bacon, fried chicken, and even pot-luck) is as follows:

Bless us Oh Lord and these thy gifts which we are about to receive through thy bounty through Christ Our Lord, Amen.

Wherever you are in the world, this is probably the blessing prayed before all Catholic meals.

Even so…this doesn't necessarily have to be prayed over food - given the appropriate situation.

For instance - my 3 years old daughter and 5 years old son do good just to get out:

In name of da Fater, Son, whole Spirit…tank you Jeus for dis food. Hayman!

We actually let the small children of the family pray the above prayer for all family functions, completely safe from canonical infraction.

All things considered, I’m afraid that what you read in your FB feed was perhaps a slight pseudo-caricature of Catholic devotion.

As for the above “bacon prayer,” I truly hope someone comes up with the origin of this prayer. It will make for a great conversation starter at my next pot-luck Knights of Columbus function.

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Searched the raccolata for bacon and came up empty. So I'd suspect if there is any bacon blessing, it is a private devotion. Although its adherents are clearly numerous.

The official organization who evaluates popular piety is the Congregation for Divine Worship. And you can read tons about its rules here. I'd imagine that if this prayer were made official, unless it was promulgated by them (which it isn't) it would be A. Something instituted by a Bishop for use in his diocese that was "leaked" inappropriately for use in the entire Church or b.) for private use only.

Prayers that are for private use only include those praying for the intercession of those whose causes for Sainthood have been started outside the diocese in which the particular aspiring saint has his or her cult. That would include prayers for folks like G.K. Chesterton which is being spread by the American Chesterton Society, outside the diocese in which his cause is being evaluated.

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