Challenge Grant: Our Boosters will match donations up to $45,000. We have $37,846 to go. Please donate!
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Catholic Prayer: Book of Blessings: Blessing of a Mother Before and After Childbirth

Description:

236 The blessing before childbirth provided here may be celebrated for an individual mother, particularly in the company of her own family. It may also be celebrated for several mothers together, for example, in a hospital, and then the formularies are said in the plural wherever necessary.

237 But the blessing after childbirth provided here is intended only for a mother who was unable to take part in the celebration of her child's baptism; therefore it is celebrated only for an individual mother.

238 The present order may be used by a priest, a deacon, or a lay minister. While maintaining the structure and chief elements of the rite, the minister should adapt the celebration to the circumstances of the place and the mother involved.

239 In special situations, a priest or a deacon may use the short formulary given at the end of each of the shorter rites, nos. 256 and 278.

Prayer:

A. ORDER FOR THE BLESSING OF A MOTHER BEFORE CHILDBIRTH

INTRODUCTORY RITES

240 When the family or a community of the faithful has gathered, the minister says: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

All make the sign of the cross and reply: Amen.

241 A minister who is a priest or deacon greets those present in the following or other suitable words, taken mainly from sacred Scripture. May Christ, who became one of us in the womb of the Virgin Mary, be with you all.

All make the following or some other suitable reply. And also with you.

242 A lay minister greets those present in the following words. Brothers and sisters, let us bless the Lord Jesus, who in the womb of the Virgin Mary became one of us. Blessed be God now and for ever.

R. Blessed be God now and for ever.

Or: R. Amen.

243 In the following or similar words, the minister prepares the mother and all present for the blessing. God, the Lord of life, by his will brings every human being into existence and he rules and sustains the life of every one of us. Our faith tells us of God's particular care over those born of a Christian marriage, since through the sacrament of baptism they will receive the gift of sharing in the divine life itself. The reason for the blessing of a mother-to-be is that she may await her hour of delivery in faith and hope and, as the partner of God's own love, may already cherish with her maternal love the child in her womb.

READING OF THE WORD OF GOD

244 A reader, another person present, or the minister reads a text of sacred Scripture. Brothers and sisters, listen to the words of the holy gospel according to Luke:

1:39-45 The baby leapt in my womb for joy. During those days Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, "Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled."

245 Or: Luke 1:26-38--You shall conceive and bear a son. Luke 2:1-14--She gave birth to her firstborn son.

246 As circumstances suggest, the following responsorial psalm may be sung or said, or some other suitable song.

R. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.

Psalm 33 Happy the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he has chosen for his own inheritance. But see, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him, upon those who hope for his kindness. R.

Our soul waits for the LORD, who is our help and our shield, For in him our hearts rejoice; in his holy name we trust. R.

May your kindness, 0 LORD, be upon us who have put our hope in you. R.

247 As circumstances suggest, the minister may give those present a brief explanation of the biblical text, so that they may understand through faith the meaning of the celebration.

INTERCESSIONS

248 The intercessions are then said. The minister introduces them and an assisting minister or one of those present announces the intentions. From the following intentions those best suited to the occasion may be used or adapted, or other intentions that apply to the mother and the particular circumstances may be composed.

The minister says: Christ the Lord, the blessed fruit of Mary's womb, by the mystery of his incarnation filled the world with his grace and goodness. Let us therefore raise our voices to praise him.

R. Blessed are you, 0 Lord, for your loving kindness.

Or: R. Blessed be God for ever.

Assisting minister: You were born of a woman, so that we might become God's adopted children. (Let us bless the Lord:) R.

Assisting minister: You took life from Mary and willed that the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you would be called blessed. (Let us bless the Lord:) R7.

Assisting minister: Through the Virgin Mary, blessed among women, you have honored the female sex. (Let us bless the Lord:) R.

Assisting minister: As you hung on the cross you made Mary, your own Mother, the Mother of the Church. (Let us bless the Lord:) R.

Assisting minister: Through the ministry of mothers you increase the joy and exultation of the Church by enriching it with new children. (Let us bless the Lord:) R.

PRAYER OF BLESSING

249 A minister who is a priest or deacon may, as circumstances suggest, extend his hands over the mother or trace the sign of the cross on her forehead, as he says the prayer of blessing; a lay minister says the prayer with hands joined.

Lord God, Creator of the human race, your Son, through the working of the Holy Spirit, was born of a woman, so that he might pay the age-old debt of sin and save us by his redemption.

Receive with kindness the prayer of your servant as she asks for the birth of a healthy child. Grant that she may safely deliver a son or a daughter to be numbered among your family, to serve you in all things, and to gain eternal life.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.

250 After the prayer of blessing, the minister invites all present to pray for the protection of the Blessed Virgin. They may do so by singing or reciting the following antiphon, or other Marian prayers, for example, Loving Mother of the Redeemer (Alma Redemptoris Mater), Hail, Mary, or Hail, Holy Queen.

We fly to you for protection, holy Mother of God. Listen to our prayers and help us in our needs. Save us from every danger, glorious and Blessed Virgin.

CONCLUDING RITE

251 After the invitation, "Bow your heads and pray for God's blessing," or something similar is said, a minister who is a priest or deacon concludes the rite by facing the mother and saying:

May God, the source of all life, protect you by his goodness. R. Amen.

May he deepen your faith, build up your hope, and constantly increase the gift of his love in you. R. Amen.

At the hour of your delivery may he be attentive to your prayers and strengthen you with his grace. R. Amen.

Then he blesses all present. And may almighty God bless you all, the Father, and the Son, + and the Holy Spirit. R. Amen.

252 A lay minister invokes God's blessing on the mother and all present by signing himself or herself with the sign of the cross and saying: May God, who chose to make known and to send the blessings of eternal salvation through the motherhood of the Blessed Virgin, bless us and keep us in his care, now and for ever. R. Amen.

B. SHORTER RITE

253 The minister says: Our help is in the name of the Lord.

All reply: Who made heaven and earth.

254 One of those present or the minister reads a text of sacred Scripture, for example:

Isaiah 44:3 I will pour out water upon the thirsty ground, and streams upon the dry land; I will pour out my spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing upon your descendants.

Luke 1:41-42a When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, "Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb."

255 A minister who is a priest or deacon says the following prayer of blessing with hands outstretched over the mother; a lay minister says the prayer with hands joined.

Lord God, Creator of the human race, your Son, through the working of the Holy Spirit, was born of a woman, so that he might pay the age-old debt of sin and save us by his redemption.

Receive with kindness the prayer of your servant as she asks for the birth of a healthy child. Grant that she may safely deliver a son or a daughter to be numbered among your family, to serve you in all things, and to gain eternal life.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.

SHORT FORMULARY

256 As circumstances suggest, a priest or deacon may use the following short blessing formulary. God has brought gladness and light to the world through the Virgin Mary's delivery of her child. May Christ fill your heart with his holy joy and keep you and your baby safe from harm. In the name of the Father, + and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. R. Amen.

C. ORDER FOR THE BLESSING OF A MOTHER AFTER CHILDBIRTH

257 The blessing of a mother after childbirth is contained in the Rite of Baptism for Children (see endnote 12).

258 When a new mother has been unable to take part in the celebration of her child's baptism, it is fitting to have a special celebration in order to provide the opportunity for her to benefit from the blessing that in the rite of baptism prompts the mother and all present to thank God for the gift of the newborn child.

INTRODUCTORY RITES

259 When the family or community of the faithful has gathered, the minister says: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

All make the sign of the cross and reply: Amen.

260 A minister who is a priest or deacon greets those present in the following or other suitable words, taken mainly from sacred Scripture. May Christ, who became one of us in the womb of the Virgin Mary, be with you all.

All make the following or some other suitable reply. And also with you.

261 A lay minister greets those present in the following words. Brothers and sisters, let us bless the Lord Jesus, who in the womb of the Virgin Mary became one of us. Blessed be God now and for ever.

R. Blessed be God now and for ever.

Or: R. Amen.

262 In the following or similar words, the minister prepares the mother and all present for the blessing. The Christian community has already welcomed with joy the child you have borne and in the celebration of (his/her) baptism has prayed that you will fully recognize the gift you have received and the responsibility entrusted to you in the Church and that, like Mary, you will proclaim the greatness of the Lord. Today we all wish to join with you in glad thanksgiving as we call on God to bless you.

READING OF THE WORD OF GOD

263 A reader, another person present, or the minister reads a text of sacred Scripture. Brothers and sisters, listen to the words of the first book of Samuel:

1:20-28 The Lord granted my request. Hannah conceived, and at the end of her term bore a son whom she called Samuel, since she had asked the LORD for him. The next time her husband Elkanah was going up with the rest of his household to offer the customary sacrifice to the LORD and to fulfill his vows, Hannah did not go, explaining to her husband, "Once the child is weaned, I will take him to appear before the LORD and to remain there forever; I will offer him as a perpetual nazirite." Her husband Elkanah answered her: "Do what you think best; wait until you have weaned him. Only, may the LORD bring your resolve to fulfillment!" And so she remained at home and nursed her son until she had weaned him. Once he was weaned, she brought him up with her, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine, and presented him at the temple of the LORD in Shiloh. After the boy's father had sacrificed the young bull, Hannah, his mother, approached Eli and said, "Pardon, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who stood near you here, praying to the LORD. I prayed for this child, and the LORD granted my request. Now I, in turn, give him to the LORD; as long as he lives, he shall be dedicated to the LORD."

264 Or: 1 Samuel 2:1-10--Prayer of Hannah. Luke 1:67-79-Blessed be the Lord.

265 As circumstances suggest, the following responsorial psalm may be sung or said, or some other suitable song.

R. Your children are like shoots of the olive.

Psalm 128 Happy are you who fear the LORD, who walk in his ways! For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork; happy shall you be, and favored. R.

Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the recesses of your home; Your children like olive plants around your table. R.

Behold, thus is the man blessed who fears the LORD. The LORD bless you from Zion: may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life; May you see your children's children. R.

266 Then the minister gives a brief explanation of the biblical text, so that the mother and all present may give thanks for God's gift of the newborn child and may accept the role entrusted to them for the Christian upbringing of the child.

PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING

267 A prayer of thanksgiving is then said. The invocations may be said by an assisting minister or another person present. Those given here may be used or adapted or others that apply to the mother and the particular circumstances may be composed.

Assisting minister: For the new life that has begun in this family, let us thank the Lord, saying:

R. We thank you, Lord.

Assisting minister: For the child that this mother has so happily received from your hands. R.

Assisting minister: For your gift of health to mother and child. R.

Assisting minister: For the sacrament of baptism that has made the heart of her child the temple of your glory. R.

Assisting minister: For the gladness that has delighted all our hearts at this birth. R.

Assisting minister: For all the favors that your fatherly love continually bestows on us. R.

268 All then sing or recite the Canticle of Mary, or a hymn of thanksgiving may be sung.

PRAYER OF BLESSING

269 A minister who is a priest or deacon says the prayer of blessing with hands outstretched; a lay minister says the prayer with hands joined.

O God, author and sustainer of human life, from your goodness your servant N. has received the joy of becoming a mother. Graciously accept our thanks and give ear to our prayers: defend this mother and child from every evil, be their companion along their pathway through life, and welcome them one day into the joys of your eternal home.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.

270 Or:

O God, our every blessing comes from you and you welcome the simple prayers of those who bless your name. Grant that this mother may live in reliance on your goodness and in thankfulness to you. Give to her and to her child the joyful reassurance that you are always near to protect them.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.

CONCLUDING RITE

271 A minister who is a priest or deacon concludes the rite by facing the mother and saying: Almighty God has brought you the joy of motherhood: may he now bless + you. You thank him today for the gift of your child: may he bring you and your child one day to a share in the unending joys of heaven.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.

272 Or, after the invitation, "Bow your heads and pray for God's blessing," or something similar is said, he says, with hands outstretched: May God, the source of all life, protect you by his goodness. R. Amen.

May he deepen your faith, build up your hope, and constantly increase the gift of his love in you. R. Amen.

May he keep your child strong in body and in spirit. R. Amen.

Then he blesses all present. And may almighty God bless you all, the Father, and the Son, + and the Holy Spirit. R. Amen.

273 A lay minister invokes God's blessing on the mother and all present by signing himself or herself with the sign of the cross and saying: May the tender love of the Father, the peace of his Son, Jesus Christ, the grace and strength of the Holy Spirit preserve you to live by the light of faith and to reach the promise of eternal happiness.

And may almighty God bless us all, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. R. Amen.

274 It is preferable to end the celebration with a suitable song.

D. SHORTER RITE

275 The minister says: Blessed be the name of the Lord.

All reply: Now and for ever.

276 One of those present or the minister reads a text of sacred Scripture, for example:

1 Samuel 1:27 I prayed for this child, and the LORD granted my request.

Luke 1:68-69 Zechariah prayed: Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, for he has visited and brought redemption to his people. He has raised up a horn for our salvation within the house of David his servant.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.

277 A minister who is a priest or deacon says the prayer of blessing with hands outstretched; a lay minister says the prayer with hands joined.

O God, our every blessing comes from you and you welcome the simple prayers of those who bless your name. Grant that this mother may live in reliance on your goodness and in thankfulness to you. Give to her and to her child the joyful reassurance that you are always near to protect them.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.

SHORT FORMULARY

278 As circumstances suggest, a priest or deacon may use the following short blessing formulary.

May the Lord God almighty, who through the earthly birth of his own Son has filled the whole world with joy, so bless + you that the child he has given you will always bring joy to your heart. R. Amen.

Endnotes: 12. See Roman Ritual, Rite of Baptism for Children, no. 105.

Prayer Source: Book of Blessings by Prepared by International Commission on English in the Liturgy A Joint Commission of Catholic Bishops' Conferences, The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota, 1989
Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

The Pope is not the problem 2 hours ago
Do not confuse sacramental discipline and Catholic doctrine. 3 hours ago
Ignatius Press into the Breach: Trumping the Kasper Proposal October 22
Has the Vatican finally discovered how to avoid inaccurate English translations? October 22
The Synod: It's a Wrap! October 21

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Key synod report calls for 'gradualism' in Church response to irregular family situations CWN - October 13
As synod concludes, bishops issue message, approve document; Pope weighs in CWN - October 20
Cardinal Parolin: UN must protect innocents from Islamic State CWN - September 30
Synod of Bishops opens with Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica CWN - October 6