EW writes:“I am writing for information about a gift that I received from some Catholic women friends. I have heard them talk about the practice of Reiki and Healing Touch. They are involved with it in the hospital settings. They call it a prayer blanket and they are hand-made from cloth material. It is 17″ x 17″, the back and front are beautifully quilted. In the front is a centered cross. The prayer blanket comes with a prayer blessing for the one that places it on the part of the body that needs prayer. I heard a priest in his homily that Catholic school children made prayer blankets and sent them to the missions for a school project. Does this have anything to do with the New Age?”
I have not found anything untoward regarding prayer blankets. For the most part, these are blankets made from yarn or fabric by women in a church who pray while making it for whoever will receive the blanket. In Catholic parishes, the completed blankets are placed on the altar during Mass on a specified day and blessed by a priest.
However, your mention of the blessing that came with the blanket that refers to placing it on a part of the body that needs prayer/healing made me suspicious especially because you also mentioned that these women are involved in Reiki and Healing Touch.
Sure enough, when I checked further, I uncovered a New Age version of the prayer blanket known as a “healing blanket” or an “Energy blanket” that is used by New Agers to do everything from cure disease to balance one’s “chakra” (and all for the low, low price of $670 + $20 postage!).
The bottom line is that prayer blankets are a beautiful ministry, but the kind that are used to “heal” people are New Age.
If the note accompanying your blanket makes any claim other than to bring your comfort and peace via the prayers that were said while it was being made, I’d toss it in the trash.
Send your New Age question to firstname.lastname@example.org