Vatican approves new rite of blessing for unborn children
WASHINGTON, March 26, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) — The Vatican has approved the publication of the “Rite for the Blessing of a Child in the Womb,” which will be printed in English and Spanish in a combined booklet and should be available for parishes by Mothers’ Day this year.
The U.S. bishops who collaborated on the development of the blessing welcomed the announcement of the recognitio, or approval, by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in Rome.
“I’m impressed with the beauty of this blessing for human life in the womb,” said Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
DiNardo said he could “think of no better day to announce this news” than today, which Catholics celebrate as the Feast of the Annunciation, or the day that the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and asked her if she would become the mother of Jesus.
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“We wanted to make this announcement as soon as possible so that parishes might begin to look at how this blessing might be woven into the fabric of parish life,” said Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Divine Worship. “Eventually the new blessing will be included in the Book of Blessings when that text is revised.”
In a press release the USCCB said the blessing was prepared to support parents awaiting the birth of their child, to encourage parish prayers for and recognition of the precious gift of the child in the womb, and to foster respect for human life within society. It can be offered within the context of the Mass as well as outside of Mass.
The blessing originated when then-Bishop Joseph Kurtz of Knoxville, Tennessee (now archbishop of Louisville, Kentucky) asked the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities to see if a blessing existed for a child in the womb. When none was found, the committee prepared a text and submitted it to the USCCB’s Divine Worship committee 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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