Shared Prayers

Back to School Blessings

16 September 2021

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These blessings are meant to include all students, teachers, and staff beginning a new academic year. All who wish to participate are invited to stand at the front. Tokens of their work for this year (backpacks, computers, datebooks, etc.) may be placed before the altar before the service or at this time. A bowl of olive wood crosses or similar tokens might be placed among the other items in front of the altar.

Today, we have before us backpacks and satchels to be carried to and from school by the children, youth, young adults, faculty and staff gathered here.

These backpacks will contain work to be done, work that’s been returned, books to be studied, tools to complete homework. Notebooks, computers, pencils, pens, protractors, compasses, crayons, rules, scissors, glue sticks, lunches and other items used for school work will find their way in and out of these backpacks.

Some days, so much stuff will fill these backpacks that the smaller students may find it difficult to walk. Other days, they will be light and nearly empty. But on each and every day, these backpacks represent work required of the persons gathered here. And, as in every aspect of our life, we bring these before God for blessing at this time.

Let us pray.

O Eternal God, bless all schools, colleges and universities, that they may be lively centers for sound learning, new discovery and the pursuit of wisdom and grant that those who learn may find you to be the source of all truth.

O Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, who left the heavenly realms in order to dwell in among us, teaching and learning and loving, guide all those involved in the academic communities here represented that our work, like yours, may increase justice, equity, and mutual care among humankind.

O Holy Spirit, ever present comforter, be with students and parents experiencing dramatic changes as young people move away from childhood homes and into a new phase of independence; give us all the courage to embrace these changes and the eyes to see the magnificent new ways you are moving in each of our lives.

Asperges may be performed over the students, faculty, and staff, and over the tokens they have brought to the altar.

Now sanctify this water, we pray you, by the power of your Holy Spirit, as a reminder of our baptism; and as this water is sprinkled on these students and teachers, and on their backpacks and other instruments of learning and service, may they be strengthened in memory, reason, and skill. [Grant that these crosses, carried in pockets and on backpacks, may remind them of your love and presence throughout the day as they learn.]



After the Asperges:

God, you were present at the beginning. Be with us as we begin a new school year. Comfort us when we are unsure of our new surroundings. Strengthen us when we stumble, and help us to remember that your light shines in all places. All this we ask through you, our Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer.




May Jesus, who calls us each by name to follow him, give you the courage and confidence to be his disciples wherever you may be, at school, at work, and at home. May the gifts God has given you be a source of blessing for you and for others. Amen.

Collect to conclude the Prayers of the People:

TODO: [Provided by CMC?]

Announcement / Bulletin Insert

Campus Ministries at universities across the state and the nation provide community in an Episcopal setting for college students. See this invitation from the Rev. Scott Russell, Episcopal Chaplain at Rutgers University, and let us know where you’re attending school in the Fall by going to . QR Code:

TODO: Consider assembling crosses/carabiners/liturgy guides and mailing them to parishes upon request?