PCS 62-65: Visits To A Sick Child

One of the Vatican II reforms was to address sacramental rituals to children. Prior to the council, adult rites were not only the norm, but the only pattern available for the ministers of the Church. The rites for Pastoral Care offer four commonsense paragraphs of instruction for the visitor:

62. The following readings, prayers, and blessings will help the minister to pray with sick children and their families. They are provided as an example of what can be done and may be adapted as necessary. The minister may wish to invite those present to prepare for the reading from Scripture, perhaps by a brief introduction or through a moment of silence.


63. If the child does not already know the minister, the latter should seek to establish a friendly and easy relationship with the child. Therefore, the greeting which begins the visit should be an informal one.


64. The minister should help sick children to understand that the sick are very special in the eyes of God because they are suffering as Christ suffered and because they can offer their sufferings for, the salvation of the world.


65. In praying with the sick child the minister chooses, together with the child and the family if possible, suitable elements of common prayer in the form of a brief liturgy of the word. This may consist of a reading from Scripture, simple one-line prayers taken from Scripture which can be repeated by the child, other familiar prayers such as the Lord’s Prayer, the Hail Mary, litanies, or a simple form of the general intercessions. The laying on of hands may be added by the priest, if appropriate, after the child has been blessed.

Notice the notion of adapting Scripture, one-line prayers, to engage the child’s response. A pastoral care minister, especially a priest, must be at ease with both the liturgy and with the Word of God to adapt as needed, sometimes even on the fly.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Pastoral Care of the Sick, post-conciliar liturgy documents, Rites. Bookmark the permalink.

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