Blessings are given for many reasons. One category of blessings sets aside that which is blessed for special usage. For example, the chalice is used exclusively for the Sacrifice of the Mass. Other blessings simply invoke God’s pleasure and grace upon the person who is blessed. Other blessings are to remind us that the object used is to be treated as a gift from God and used properly, according to the will of God. Nothing is changed in this kind of object that is blessed. The bread and wine at the altar substantially change into the Body and Blood of Christ, but that is an exception as far as blessings are concerned. Usually the blessing is accompanied by the Sign of the Cross because all power comes from our Lord’s redemptive act. It may seem strange, but parents can bless their children, for instance, when they put them to bed at night. This is simply calling God’s favor down upon this gift of their children. They can use their own words— it is the intention that is important. The Book of Blessings might surprise you with the variety of formal prayers that the Church has for numerous objects. There are blessings for silkworms, ale, seismographs, bridges and many other seemingly unusual things to be blessed. The blessing thanks God for the gifts and reminds us to use them properly, especially in the case of animals, the harvest, etc.