Simone Olsen, NZ Catholic Bishops
A new Rite of Blessing for expectant parents and their child in the womb has been created in both Māori and English.
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. It outlines the wording and prayers for this Rite.
This is a timely development following Pope Francis’ recently released Amoris Laetitia, The Joy
The Rite of Blessing invites families to rejoice in the dignity of the expectant mother and the child she carries, 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’. Mindful of the story of the Holy Family, the rite also recognises 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.
The publication also offers prayer resources for parents of a still-born child. Contacts for diocesan pregnancy and family-support services are included.
As well as prayer, the Bishops encourage all who are part of each family’s journey with their unborn child, to nurture and support the expectant parents; and to help them access the support-systems and networks within the Catholic community, that help create a safe and caring environment.
An illustrated card, with the words of the Blessing for Parents and of the Blessing for the Child in the Womb, is available in English or Māori for presentation to parents as a momento of the blessing and for continuing prayer.
The 32-page book (about A5 size) costs $12. Packs of 10 cards in English or Māori cost $15.
Contact the National Liturgy Office on (09) 360-3058 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to purchase the books and cards.