Monday, July 10, 2017

Churching of Women

Churching is the woman's way of giving thanksgiving to God for the birth of her child, and predisposes her, through the priestly blessing that is a part of the ritual, to receive the graces necessary to raise her child in a manner pleasing to God.

Following the baby's Baptism and just before Mass began, I received the Churching of Women.
(You can read more about Churching of Women here.)
 I've now received this blessing from all three of my husband's brothers!

Photo credit: Marc at AV Creations

The Ritual
(English Translation)

The woman will make arrangements with her priest (ideally, the priest should know the women of his parish and make the offer to her). At the appointed time, she will kneel in the Narthex, holding a lighted candle. The priest, wearing a white stole, will bless her with holy water, and say:

V. Our help is in the Name of the Lord.
R. Who made Heaven and Earth.
ANT. She shall receive.

Psalm 23 1

The Earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof; the world, and all they that dwell therein. For He hath founded it upon the seas; and hath prepared it upon the rivers. Who shall ascend into the mountain of the Lord: or who shall stand in His holy place? The innocent in hands and clean of heart, who hath not taken his soul in vain, nor sworn deceitfully to his neighbor. He shall receive a blessing from the Lord, and mercy from God his Savior. This is the generation of them that seek Him, of them that seek the face of the God of Jacob. Lift up your gates, O ye princes, and be ye lifted up, O eternal gates: and the King of glory shall enter in. Who is this King of glory? the Lord Who is strong and mighty: the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your gates, O ye princes, and be ye lifted up, O eternal gates: and the King of glory shall enter in. Who is this King of glory? the Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory.

Glory be to the Father.

ANT. She shall receive a blessing from the Lord, and mercy from God her Savior: for this is the generation of them that seek the Lord.

The priest places the end of his stole in the woman's hand and leads her into the church while saying:

Enter into the temple of God, adore the Son of the blessed Virgin Mary, who gave you fruitfullness of offspring.

Outside the sanctuary, the mother kneels before the Altar and prays, thanking God for her child.

Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. (Now the Our Father is said silently)

V. And lead us not into temptation.
R. But deliver us from evil.
V. Save your handmaid, Lord.
R. Who hopes in Thee, my God.
V. Send her help, Lord, from the sanctuary.
R. And defend her out of Sion.
V. Let not the enemy prevail against her.
R. Nor the son of iniquity approach to hurt her.
V. O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come to Thee.
V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with thy spirit.
V. Let us pray.

Almighty, everlasting God, through the delivery of the blessed Virgin Mary, Thou hast turned into joy the pains of the faithful in childbirth; look mercifully upon this Thy handmaid, coming in gladness to Thy temple to offer up her thanks: and grant that after this life, by the merits and intercession of the same blessed Mary, she may merit to arrive, together with her offspring, at the joys of everlasting happiness. Through Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.

The priest sprinkles the mother with holy water in the shape of a Cross. 

The peace and blessing of God almighty, the Father + and the Son and the Holy Spirit, descend upon you and remain forever.

R. Amen.

One of my favorite moments was following the Churching, at the end of the dedication to Our Lady, when Father took the baby out of my arms, carried her over to the statue of Our Lady, knelt down and chanted Salve Regina ♥

+   +   +

Offering of a Child to God after Baptism
(from my Mother Love prayerbook) 

Behold, Heavenly Father, this precious gift of Thy goodness, my dearly beloved child, whom even before its birth I already offered to Thee! By holy baptism, Thou hast raised it to the state of grace, hast regenerated it, and made it Thine own child. I give and dedicate it anew to Thee. With all my heart, I devote it to Thy service, Thy love, and Thy good pleasure. Would that I could offer and consecrate it to Thee with a heart as sincere, as pious, and devout as was that of Elizabeth when she offered St. John to Thee, as was that of Anne when she consecrated to Thee her immaculate child, as was that of Mary when she sacrificed to Thee her only, her Divine Son!

Take, O Father of Jesus Christ, this child for Thine own! Possess it as Thy own property. Keep it safe under Thy constant protection from every grievous sin, and grant that it may never fall from the state of grace in which Thou hast placed it. May it carry the snowy garment of baptismal innocence, adorned with which it now lies before me, to Thy Judgement-seat, where it will have to render an account of its earthly pilgrimage.

Gladly do I accept all the care and trouble which its support, its protection, and its education will bring along. All that Thou wilt require of me on its account, I shall willingly bear, through love of Thee and of it. Grant me only Thy grace, for without that I can do nothing toward advancing its true welfare. Stand ever at our side with Thy paternal love, that I may gain for myself the reward of a good mother, and that this Thy beloved child, may, like its Divine Model, increase in wisdom and in grace, as in years, before Thee and all good men! Amen.

The rest of her baptism pictures and uncle's visit can be found here: