Have you ever admired the beautiful, hand-painted certificates at your parish or at a friend's home, commemorating an individual or couple's lifetime or sacramental milestone? This Apostolic blessing from the Pope, known also as a Benediction Papalis, is available to any baptized Catholic. Requesting a blessing from the Holy Father, along with a certificate that tangibly commemorates that blessing, is a surprisingly simple process that only costs about $50 to cover the cost of the hand-drawn and lettered parchment and the shipping from Vatican City (Christmas gifts, anyone?).
The Apostolic Blessing is granted for Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation, Marriage, Priestly Ordination, Religious Profession, Secular Consecration, Ordinations of Permanent Deacons, marriage anniversaries (10, 25, 40, 50 , 60 years), birthdays (18, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100), and upon Catholic individuals or families.
Requests for Papal Blessings on parchment can be sent to the Elemosineria Apostolica--the Office of Papal Charities--by regular post or by fax; not by email or phone. The time required for receiving the parchment is approximately one month from the date the request is received.
00120 Vatican City
(+39) 06.69873279 - (+39) 06.69871100
Fill out this form, then mail it to the above address.
Payment is made after the blessing is received. You can pay by bank transfer (the banking coordinates are mailed with the parchment) or online with a credit card via the Office's website. The total price serves as a donation to the Church, reflecting the cost of the parchment--ranging from 13 to 25 euros (approximately $14.50-$28.50), according to the model chosen by the office for the specific occasion--and the postage costs. For normal postage, expect 10-16 euros (approximately $11.00-$18.00) or with express courier, DHL, about 8-30 euros (approximately $9.00-$34.00).
The official website for the Office of Papal Charities can be found here (and here's a quick tutorial on how to fax internationally). Your diocese may also be able to provide you with the necessary forms and help you obtain whatever documentation you may need.
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