Bishop Richard J. Malone will be the main celebrant at the sixth annual Rite for the Blessing of a Child in the Womb and Mass on Sunday, May 6. The 10:30 a.m. Mass will be held at St. Joseph Cathedral, 50 Franklin St., Buffalo.
Mass will include a special blessing for unborn children and their expectant parents. Participants also will pray for couples who are hoping for the gift of a child.
This rite, approved by the Vatican in 2012, is included in the Book of Blessings published by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). The blessing originated when then-Bishop Joseph Kurtz of Knoxville, Tenn. (now archbishop of Louisville, Ky.), asked the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities to see if a blessing existed for a child in the womb. When none was found, the committee prepared a text and submitted it to the USCCB's Divine Worship committee in March of 2008. It was approved by the full body of bishops in November 2008, and then sent to Rome for editing and final approval.
The blessing was prepared to support parents awaiting the birth of their child, to encourage parish prayers for and recognition of the precious gift of the child in the womb, and to foster respect for human life within society. It can be offered within the context of Mass as well as outside of Mass.
The Diocese of Buffalo's celebration of this rite is scheduled between the feast day of St. Gianna Molla (April 28), patron saint of mothers, physicians and preborn children, and Mother's Day (May 13).
For more information, contact the Office of Pro-Life Activities at 847-2205.