Churching of a Woman in Poughkeepsie, 1953
The mother, kneeling in the vestibule, or within the church, and carrying a lighted candle, awaits the priest, who, vested in surplice and white stole, sprinkles her with holy water in the form of a cross. Having recited Psalm 24, “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof”, he offers her the left extremity of the stole and leads her into the church, saying: “Enter thou into the temple of God, adore the Son of the Blessed Virgin Mary who has given thee fruitfulness of offspring.” She advances to one of the altars and kneels before it, whilst the priest, turned towards her, recites a prayer which expresses the object of the blessing, and then, having sprinkled her again with holy water in the form of the cross, dismisses her, saying: “The peace and blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, descend upon thee, and remain forever. Amen.”
Our help is in the name of the Lord.
[R] Who made heaven and earth.
[Ant.] She shall receive.
(A Psalm of David.) The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.
2For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods.
3Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place?
4He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.
5He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
6This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah.
7Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.
8Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.
9Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.
10Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah.
Glory be to the, (etc.)…
[Ant.] She shall receive a blessing from the Lord, and mercy from God her Saviour; for this is the generation of them that seek the Lord.
Then, reaching the left end of the stole into the woman’s hand, the Priest introduces her into the church, saying:
Enter thou into the temple of God, adore the Son of this Blessed Virgin Mary, who hath given thee fruitfulness of offspring.
She, having entered, kneels before the Altar, and prays, giving thanks to God for the benefits bestowed upon her; the Priest says:
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Our Father (inaudibly).
[V.] And lead us not into temptation.
[R.] But deliver us from evil.
[V.] O Lord, save Thy handmaid,
[R.] O my God, who putteth her trust in Thee.
[V.] Send her help, O Lord, from Thy holy place.
[R.] And defend her out out of Sion.
[V.] Let not the enemy prevail against her.
[R.] Nor the son of iniquity draw nigh to hurt her.
[V.] O Lord, hear my prayer.
[R.] And let my cry come unto Thee.
[V.] The Lord be with you.
[R.] And with thy spirit.
Let us pray: Almighty, Everlasting God, who, through the Delivery of the Blessed Virgin Mary, hast turned the pains of the faithful at childbirth into joy: look mercifully on this Thy handmaid, who cometh in gladness to Thy temple to offer up her thanks: and grant that after this life, through the merits and intercession of this same Blessed Mary, she may be found worthy to attain, together with her offspring, unto the joys of everylasting happiness. Through Christ our Lord.
Thanksgiving After Childbirth
Gracious God, by whose providence we are made, who formest us in secret, who beholdest us when we are yet imperfect, and in whose book all shall be written: I humbly beseech Thee to accept this my acknowledgment of Thy power, and to receive this my most hearty praise and thanksgiving, which I now offer to Thy divine Majesty, for Thy favor and goodness towards me. Behold, O Lord, what Thine own hands have fashioned; and grant that this infant, which Thou hast made by Thy power, may be preserved by Thy goodness and, through the grace of Thy Holy Baptism, may be made a living member of Thy Church and be carefully brought up to serve Thee in all piety and honesty. Through the merits of Thy dearly beloved Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.