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The “Rite for the Blessing of a Child in the Womb” has been approved for use in the dioceses of the United States in both English and Spanish since May 2012. The blessing is posted online as a color PDF at www.usccb.org/about/pro-life-activities/prayers/pro-life-blessings.cfm and is now available in a booklet form (English and Spanish). Eventually it will be included in future editions of the Book of Blessings/ Bendicional. A complimentary copy of the “Rite for the Blessing of a Child in the Womb” will be mailed to Diocesan Pro-Life Directors, Project Rachel Directors, and State Catholic Conference Directors soon and additional copies may be ordered through USCCB Publishing (Item no. 7-316) at www.usccbpublishing.org/productdetails.cfm?sku=7-316.
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.
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.
Click here to access the sample bulletin announcement and prayers of the faithful which can be modified as needed.
We look forward to hearing how the blessing and prayers have been used. Please send us videos or photos that you would allow us to highlight or distribute to firstname.lastname@example.org. May God bless you in your efforts to promote respect for human life!