FARMINGTON — A custom that dates back to the tenth century will be renewed at weekend Masses in Jay and Farmington on Aug. 14-15 in celebration of the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Blessings of the Herbs and Flowers will be held during Masses at St. Rose of Lima Church on 1 Church Street in Jay on Saturday, Aug. 14 at 4 p.m., and Sunday, Aug. 15 at 8:30 a.m., and at St. Joseph Church on 133 Middle Street in Farmington on Sunday, Aug. 15 at 10:30 a.m.

“God is the source of all healing, and the blessing of the herbs asks God to bless the medicinal powers of herbs to make them mercifully efficient against disease and sickness,” said Fr. Paul Dumais, pastor of both St. Rose of Lima Parish and St. Joseph Parish. “Flowers have always been associated with Our Lady and many flowers have popular names related to her. Once blessed, these elements of nature may be used as seasonings in cooking and baking, steeped as teas, burned as incense, or used to beautify homes.”

All are invited to bring cut flowers, wildflowers, and herbs to the Masses in bouquets or vases. They will be arranged in the churches for Fr. Dumais to bless them.

The tradition originates from Germany, and formulas for it are found as early as the tenth century. Herbs included all kinds of cultivated and wildflowers, especially those which in some way had a symbolic relation to Our Lady. The people brought herbs to church on her feast not only to secure for themselves another blessed object, but also to make of the occasion a harvest festival of thanksgiving to God for His great bounty manifested in the abundant fruits of the earth.

The Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary celebrates that Mary is assumed body and soul into the glory of heaven by God at the moment of her death. Just as she was preserved from all stain of sin throughout her life (even from its very first moment–the Immaculate Conception), her body is now preserved from its natural corruption (an effect of sin) at the end of her earthly life.

For more information about the blessings, contact St. Rose of Lima Parish at 207-897-2173 or St. Joseph Parish at 207-778-2778.