New York City, N.Y., Apr 18, 2014 / 12:59 pm
Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York blessed 30 expectant mothers and their unborn children in an April 6 Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral, offering a message of hope and love.
"I came to more fully recognize that my faith is not just for me, but also for my unborn son and for all other women struggling with faith and grace in a difficult time," Kimberly Page told the New York-based Chiaroscuro Foundation.
"This Mass and this blessing have added so much to my life as a Catholic and how I will raise my son."
Page said it was "redemptive" to see the Church recognize life from conception "even if conceived in circumstances that are not God's intention for the family."
The 30 pregnant women included first-time mothers as well as women with other children.
Guests at the Mass included patients from the Gianna Center for Women's Health, residents of Good Counsel Homes, members of the Sisters of Life and employees of the New York archdiocese's Family Life Office.
Page said she had learned about the blessing through the Sisters of Life, who have been supporting her spiritually during her pregnancy. She said she had been "struggling with love and forgiveness" until the blessing.
Hearing her child being blessed in the womb "has helped me fully accept the grace and love that comes through Christ and his Church," she said.
"To attend Mass as a single mother is terrifying and sometimes painful but to feel the grace and support from the sisters and from the cardinal has been invaluable," Page said, adding that the Mass made her feel comfortable receiving Communion.
Cardinal Dolan used a prayer from the "Rite of Blessing for a Child in the Womb." Published by the U.S. bishops in May 2012, the rite begins with a prayer for the child.
"God, author of all life, bless, we pray, this unborn child," Cardinal Dolan prayed. "Give constant protection and grant a healthy birth."
He said 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," he added.