Blessing of bread on St. Agatha’s feast day

One of the customs that sometimes takes place on the feast of St. Agatha, during the liturgy, is the blessing of bread.

Tuesday we had the blessing of candles, Wednesday we had the blessing of throats, and Friday we had the blessing of bread. What an exciting week!

Catholic Saints & Angels sheds some light on this tradition:

Because one of the tortures she supposedly suffered was to have her breasts cut off, she was often depicted carrying her breasts on a plate. It is thought that blessing of the bread that takes place on her feast may have come from the mistaken notion that she was carrying loaves of bread.

A stretch, perhaps, but perhaps. See the picture to the right.

Here is the blessing rite:

V. Our help is in the name of the Lord.
R. Who made heaven and earth.

V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with your spirit.

Let us pray.

Holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God, Who did consecrate this day with the martyrdom of the venerable Agatha, granting her the gift of healing body and soul; bless + this bread with Thy supernatural benevolence. May it be to all partakers health for body and soul, and a safe guard against illness and all inimical assaults. Through our Lord, Jesus Christ, Thy Son, the living bread which came down from heaven, Who lives and reigns with Thee in unity of the Holy Spirit, God, eternally,

R. Amen.

It is sprinkled with holy water.

This would also explain why she has become the patron saint of bakers.