Monday, January 12, 2009

A Wonderful Discovery

I've always heard about prayers for pregnant women. Well, during my first pregnancy, I had the fortune of being blessed by a priest during my retreat. He said (talking to the group) that after the retreat, we will have the blessing of the baby. Not thinking, my initial reaction was --- "Where? Where is the baby?" Toink! I forgot for a second that I was pregnant and that he was referring to the baby in my womb. Anyway, that prayer was so comforting and reassuring.

So prayers for the mommy and baby are common. But my wonderful discovery today is to find this prayer. It's fantastic to see here that the father, who also equally participates in this wonderful blessing in the family, is not forgotten. Like the mother, he also needs to be prayed for and blessed. This is so good to know because my dear husband, who I love so much, although he is not the one who will actually give birth, also needs the supernatural grace to be the head of our growing family.

Blessing during Pregnancy, for Both Parents

When a pregnancy is first confirmed and at various times during pregnancy (when the extended family is present, for example), this blessing is appropriate. It may simply take place as part of the blessing at table, using the scripture reading and a prayer of blessing before joining in the grace for meals. The leader may be a priest, deacon, lay minister, a friend, or a member of the family.

All make the sign of the cross. The leader begins:
Blessed be God forever.
All respond:
Blessed be God forever.

The leader may use these or similar words to introduce the blessing:
As you await your child's birth in faith, partners in God's own love, may you already cherish the child you have conceived.

Then Scripture is read:
Listen to the words of the Holy Gospel according to Luke 1:39-45:

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 leapt 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 leapt for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled."

This is the Gospel of the Lord.
All respond:
Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ.

After a time of silence, all join in prayers of intercession. The Hail Mary, the Memorare, or other prayers asking for the protection of Mary may be appropriate. After the Lord's Prayer, the leader may invite all to extend their hands toward the parents or to place their hands in blessing on the parents.

Gracious Father, Your Word, spoken in love, created the human family and Your Son, conceived in love, restored it to Your friendship. Hear the prayers of (mother's name) and (father's name), who await the birth of their child. Calm their fears when they are anxious.

Watch over and support these parents and bring their child into this world safely and in good health, so that as members of Your family they may praise You and glorify You through Your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, now and forever. Amen.

All make the sign of the cross. The leader concludes:
May God, Who chose to make known and to send the blessings of eternal salvation through the motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the protection of St. Joseph, bless us and keep us in His care, now and forever. Amen.


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