Why not a prayer for newborns?
In my parish--and in virtually every Catholic parish, I think--the petitions at Sunday Mass always include a prayer for those parishioners who have died recently. I have a simple suggestion: Why not add a prayer for those who have been baptized recently as well?
Certainly it is a good thing, and our duty in charity, to pray for the deceased. At the same time, by listing their names, the parish informs us about our neighbors who have passed away. Good.
Yet at the same time there are babies being born to parishioners, and adults entering the Catholic Church. They deserve a public welcome, and it can't hurt to pray for them too. So I suggest that we list their names, and invite prayers for them as they embark on their Christian journey.
Our friends and relatives pass on, but a new generation rises up to replace them. That is the natural rhythm of life, in a family and in a parish. While providing a weekly reminder of that reality, a regular prayer for newborns might also help to counteract the unfortunate tendency to think that a church is a place for old people: a place where death is never far away and birth is long forgotten.
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