.- Ahead of Mother’s Day, the U.S. bishops’ conference has published a prayer to bless an unborn child, the child’s pregnant mother, the child’s father and the child’s family.
“God, author of all life, bless, we pray, this unborn child,” the prayer begins. “Give constant protection and grant a healthy birth.”
The blessing, titled “Rite of Blessing for a Child in the Womb,” is posted online at the U.S. bishops’ conference website. It is also published as a booklet addendum to the “Book of Blessings,” in which it will be included in future editions.
The prayer says that God has brought to the pregnant woman “the wondrous joy of motherhood.”
“Grant her comfort in all anxiety and make her determined to lead her child along the ways of salvation,” it adds.
The portion of the prayer for the child’s father says that God has “singled out this man to know the grace and pride of fatherhood.” It asks God to grant him courage and to make him “an example of justice and truth” for the child.
Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond, chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Divine Worship, explained the intentions behind the prayer.
“We hope the use of this blessing will provide not only support and God’s blessing for expectant parents and their child in the womb, but also another effective witness to the sanctity of human life from the first moment of conception,” he said May 8.
Then-Bishop Joseph Kurtz of Knoxville, Tenn., who is now the Archbishop of Louisville, had asked the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities for the prayer. The committee prepared a text for the Divine Worship committee in March 2008.
The Vatican approved the prayer on March 25, 2012, the Feast of the Annunciation.
In March, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Houston, who chairs the Committee on Pro-Life Activities, said he was impressed by the “beauty” of the blessing.
The blessing can be downloaded at http://www.usccb.org/about/pro-life-activities/prayers/pro-life-blessings.cfm.