The blessing celebrates the gift of the child in the womb and includes prayers for the child, the mother, the father, the family and the broader community. The blessing originated when then-Bishop Joseph Kurtz of Knoxville (now Archbishop of Louisville), at the request of one of his parish priests, asked the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities whether a blessing existed for a child in the womb. When none was found, the committee prepared a text and submitted it to the USCCB Committee on Divine Worship in March of 2008. It was approved by the full body of bishops in November 2008, and then sent to Rome for editing and final approval.
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The blessing can be offered by priests (or deacons) within the context of the Mass as well as outside of Mass. A shortened and adapted prayer card for family use at home will be released shortly. We hope that you will encourage parishes to make use of the blessing more than once a year so that all expectant parents might benefit.
Possible dates to consider could include: Respect Life Sunday, during Respect Life Month, during Advent, near the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception (December 8), near the celebrations of Our Lady of Guadalupe (December 12), during the Christmas Season, near the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, during May, on Mother’s Day, and other suitable times.
Celebrating the Rite of the Blessing of the Child in the Womb
Join us in celebrating and praying for mothers, fathers, and families, and for children in the womb. On Sunday, ______________, the ___ Mass will include a special blessing for unborn children and their expectant parents. We will also pray for couples who are hoping for the gift of a child and for couples who have suffered the loss of a child.
Please RSVP to ______ at ______ if you wish to receive the blessing.
Let us present our prayers through Jesus, our Light and our Life, who calls us his brothers and sisters, as we respond, “Lord, hear our prayer.”
O God of mercy,
who raised up the lowly and filled the hungry with good things,
be with us in our need,
so that in all that we do we may proclaim your goodness
and offer ourselves for your service.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.