Holy Innocents’ Episcopal Church recently held their 4th annual Backpack Blessing where over 75 children and their backpacks were blessed.

When asked the reason for the ritual, the Rev. Zachary Thomson, Assistant to Rector for Family Ministries at the church of 2500 located in Sandy Springs, Georgia told The Huffington Post:

Bringing the children and youth together for a backpack blessing at the start of a new school year is meant to engage the kids where they are at, in the concrete reality of their lives, and narrate that God is with them. Taking your backpack into church, in the context of the Eucharist, suggests that Christianity is a way of life that moves into all spheres. We are invited to serve God with our hearts, our souls, our minds, and the stuff of our backpack.

In addition to the blessing, each child received a compass as a sign of God’s presence in their daily life. The blessing given was:

Bless these children and youth and their backpacks as they begin another school year. Keep them from danger and from fear. Guide them in the ways of justice and truth and when they are in new places and with new people, help them to remember that you have written their names on the palm of your hand. Let them always know that they are your children in the world, we ask this in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Does your religious tradition offer a blessing or meditation for kids going back to school? Tell us about it in the comments or send us photos at religion@huffingtonpost.com.

Click through to see photos from the event:

Loading Slideshow...
  • Credit: Holy Innocents' Backpack Blessing

  • Credit: Holy Innocents' Backpack Blessing

  • Credit: Holy Innocents' Backpack Blessing

  • Credit: Holy Innocents' Backpack Blessing