The New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference are offering a new publication Ko Te Ritenga Whakapai I Ngā Mātua Me Tā Rāua Tamaiti Kei Roto Tonu I Te Kōpū, Rite of Blessing for Expectant Parents and Their Child in the Womb which outlines the wording and prayers for this Rite.
This is especially timely following the recent Exhortation from Pope Francis, Amoris Laetitia, The Joy of Love, this Rite of Blessing invites Christian families to rejoice in the dignity of the expectant mother and the child she carries in her womb, to joyfully welcome the child to be born, as a gift from God and a “treasure to be cherished, blessed and greeted by the family of the Church”.
Yet, keeping in mind the story of the Holy Family, this rite also recognises that pregnancy may be a vulnerable time, bringing its own burdens and challenges on the journey towards birth, and baptism.
The blessing may be given by the Celebrant within Mass, using the rites of blessing provided in the ritual. Alternatively, the Rite may be used as a blessing outside Mass, celebrated by a priest, deacon or lay leader. Separate selections of Scripture Readings, Prayers and Hymns are provided for these celebrations.
An appendix offers prayer resources for parents of a still born child. Contact details for diocesan pregnancy and family support services are available at the back of the document.
In addition to prayer, the New Zealand Catholic Bishops encourage all who are part of each family’s journey with their unborn child, to nurture and support them; and to help them make use of the practical support systems and networks within the Catholic community that help create a safe and caring environment.
An illustrated card, containing the words of the Blessing for Parents and the words of the Blessing for the Child in the Womb, printed in English or Te Reo is available for presentation to parents, as a momento of the Blessing and for continuing prayer.
This new publication is an attractive, 32 page book, with a firm matt laminate cover; a little bigger than A5 in size. The price for each book is $12.00, inclusive of GST. The price for each pack of 10 cards (please indicate English or Te Reo) is $ 15.00, inclusive of GST.
Copies are available from the National Liturgy Office, 09 3603058 or email firstname.lastname@example.org