WASHINGTON (CNA/EWTN News) – 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.
"Lord, who have brought to this 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 blessing, titled "Rite of Blessing for a Child in the Womb," is posted online at the U.S. bishops’ conference Web site. It is also published as a booklet addendum to the "Book of Blessings," in which it will be included in future editions.
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.
In Spanish, the portion of the prayer for the child reads as follows:
"Dios, autor de toda vida, te pedimos que bendigas a este niño aún por nacer; dale una constante protección y un saludable nacimiento, como signo de nuestro renacimiento, un día,al gozo de la vida eterna en el cielo.
"Señor, que has concedido a esta mujer el gran gozo de la maternidad, concédele serenidad en sus preocupaciones y dale decisión para guiar a su hijo por los caminos de la salvación."