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BLESSING OF A WOMAN AFTER CHILDBIRTH
(Also known as the Churching of Women.)


(When a woman after childbirth desires, according to a pious and praiseworthy custom, to come to the Church to give thanks to God for her safe delivery, and when she has asked the priest's blessing, he, vested in surplice and white stole, proceeds, with an acolyte carrying the holy water sprinkler, to the door of the church. He may address the following words to the woman, who is kneeling and holding a lighted candle in her hand:)

Exhortation Before Entering Into the Church.

According to a very laudable custom, you have come to request the blessing of the Church upon yourself and the child that has been committed to your care. While you return thanks to God for the many favors He has bestowed upon you, at the same time fervently consecrate yourself and your offspring to His holy service. Be careful, both by word and by example, to impress upon its youthful heart the principles of solid piety, that you may correspond to the views of Divine providence in placing it under your charge, and may have the happiness of seeing your children attentive in their duties to God, and zealous for their own eternal welfare, You hold a lighted candle in your hand, to signify the good works by which you should express your thanks to God for the benefits which He has bestowed upon you, and the pious example by which you should lead your children, and all around you, to the love and practice of virtue. Endeavor to enter into this disposition, and to cultivate it all the days of your life, so that you may obtain and enjoy the blessings which I am now about to ask for you, in the name of Holy Church.

(The kneeling woman is sprinkled with holy water, then the priest says:)

V. Our help is in the name of the Lord.
R. Who has made heaven and earth.

(Antiphon:)

She shall receive.

PSALM 23

The Lord's are the earth and its fullness;
the world and those who dwell in it.
For he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers.
Who can ascend the mountain of the Lord?
or who may stand in his holy place?
He whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean,
who desires not what is vain,
nor swears deceitfully to his neighbor.
He shall receive a blessing from the Lord,
a reward from God his savior.
Such is the race that seeks for him,
that seeks the face of the God of Jacob.
Lift up, O gates, your lintels;
reach up, you ancient portals,
that the king of glory may come in!
Who is this king of glory?
The Lord, strong and mighty,
the Lord, mighty in battle.
Lift up, O gates, your lintels;
reach up, you ancient portals,
that the king of glory may come in!
Who is this king of glory?
The Lord of hosts; he is the king of glory.
Glory be to the Father,
and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning,
is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

Amen.

(Antiphon:)

She shall receive the blessing of the Lord,
and the mercy of God her Savior,
for such is the generation of them that seek the Lord.

(The priest offers his stole to the mother, and leads her towards the altar:)

Enter into the temple of God, and worship the Son of the Blessed Virgin Mary who has granted you fruitfulness of offspring.

(And after the woman has come into the church, she kneels before the altar and prays, thanking God for the benefits bestowed on her. Then the priest says:)

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.

Our Father (in silence until)

V. And lead us not into temptation.
R. But deliver us from evil.

V. Save Your handmaid, O Lord.
R. Who hopes in You, O my God.

V. Send her help, O Lord, from Your holy temple.
R. And from Sion protect her.

V. May the enemy never prevail against her.
R. And may the son of wickedness come not near her to harm her.

V. O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry reach up to You.

V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with your spirit.

Let us pray.

Almighty and everlasting God,
by the delivery of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
You have changed the pangs of the faithful at childbirth into joy.
Look now with kindly favor on this Your handmaid,
who comes joyously into Your holy temple
to pay You her debt of thanks.
Grant her, after the present life,
through the merits and prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
to obtain together with her offspring
the joys of eternal happiness,
through Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.

(Then the priest again sprinkles her with holy water, saying:)

May the peace and blessing of almighty God,
the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
descend upon you and remain always.

R. Amen.

(The foregoing blessing of a woman after childbirth should be given by the pastor, if he is asked. But it may be given by any priest if, likewise, he is asked. It may be given in any church or public oratory, but the Superior of the church should be told of it.)



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