Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Churching

The ceremony of Churching, the Blessing of a Mother After Childbirth, is very beautiful.
IMG_8785 First, the mother kneels at the entrance to the church, with a lighted candle, while the priest says Psalm 23, which refers both to the entrance of the faithful into the Temple: 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 neighbour. He shall receive a blessing from the Lord, and mercy from God his Saviour.  
And to the triumphant entry of God Himself into it: Lift up your gates, O ye princes, and be ye lifted up, O eternal gates: and the King of Glory shall enter in. 

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Then the priest leads her into church with his stole. IMG_8794
And she is blessed at the altar rail, with holy water.
V. Save Thine handmaid, O Lord. 
R. Who hopeth in Thee, O my God. 
V. Send her help, O 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. ... 
Almighty, everlasting God, who, through the delivery of the blessed Virgin Mary, hast turned into joy the pains of the faithful in childbirth, look mercifully upon this Thine 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.

This took place on Saturday, in SS Gregory & Augustine's. 

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