A child changes everything. You’ve seen it happen to your friends or perhaps you’ve had the opportunity to welcome life into this world yourself. It is evident how quickly and permanently that little person changes it all.
But such change begins much sooner than baby’s debut into the world—and the preparations in the hearts and souls of mom and dad do, too.
To recognize the incredible gift of life in the womb and to help mom, dad, and the wider church community ready themselves to accept the gift, the Church has approved a special blessing. The Rite of Blessing of the Child in the Womb was made available by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in the Vatican in 2011, on the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady (December 8). It recognizes the preciousness of the unborn child and readies the hearts of the mother and father to bring their child into this world and eventually into the Church through baptism.
In the booklet “Gift of Joy” that describes the rite, it is noted “the blessing places God at the center of the life of the one who is blessed.” In this way, the child in the womb can become “a sign to strengthen others” in their journey towards God.
These powerful words are from the blessing: “Grant a healthy birth that is the sign of our rebirth one day into the eternal rejoicing of heaven.” In a culture that does not always celebrate life, this can be a powerful way to show others and remind ourselves just how wonderful the life of a baby is.
Seeking God’s blessing during pregnancy is a humble way to recognize that whether you’re having your first or your fifth baby, you need His help to do it. It is also a chance to celebrate life with family, friends and your parish.
Tiffany and Chris Baumgartner, members of
Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Bismarck
, had the opportunity to experience the Rite of Blessing with their forth child, Jude, very soon after it was approved. In the setting of their home, Tiffany’s brother who is a priest offered the Rite.
“Any time you have a special blessing like that it’s reassuring,” Tiffany shared. In the midst of three other children running around, a (semi-quiet) moment to prepare for the gift of another child was a beautiful opportunity to recognize once again the momentous occasion of bringing life into the world.
“It’s a comforting feeling to know that a little added grace is there.” This real sign of God’s grace during the time of pregnancy can help to refocus this special time on the spiritual good of all involved.
The blessing can be received in or outside of Mass, in a private setting or with family and friends in attendance. You can even receive the blessing in a group alongside other mothers and fathers preparing for the gift of their child. Simply ask your pastor about it and speak with him about any plans you’d like to make to experience this grace from God given to us by His holy Church.
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