OCF 318, 337-342: Final Commendation for an Infant

This is excruciating for those who have to suffer it:

318. The “Rite of Final Commendation for an Infant” may be used in the case of a stillborn or a newborn infant who dies shortly after birth. This short rite of prayer with the parents is celebrated to give them comfort and to commend and entrust the infant to God. This rite is a model and the minister should adapt it to the circumstances. It may be used in the hospital or place of birth or at the time of the committal of the body.

The outline is as follows:

Brief Address
Scripture Verse
Blessing of the Body
The Lord’s Prayer
Prayer of Commendation

The brief address given in the rite is as follows:

Dear friends, in the face of death all human wisdom fails. Yet the Lord Jesus teaches us, by the three days he spent in the tomb, that death has no hold over us. Christ has conquered death; his dying and rising have redeemed us. Even in our sorrow for the loss of this little child, we believe that, one short sleep past, he/she will wake eternally.

As with other similar addresses “similar words” may be used.

The Scripture suggestions include Romans 5:5b and 1 John 3:2.

In blessing the body (339) with these words :

Trusting in Jesus,
the loving Savior, who gathered children into his arms
and blessed the little ones,
we now commend this infant [N]
to that same embrace of love,
in the hope that he/she will rejoice
and be happy in the presence of Christ.

And an acclamation is said by all:

May the angels and saints lead him/her
to the place of light and peace
where one day
we will be brought together again.

Then the minister continues:

Lord Jesus,
lovingly receive this little child;
bless him/her
and take him/her to your Father.
We ask this in hope,
and we pray:

The Lord Have Mercy follows, then the Lord’s Prayer (340), then the Prayer of Commendation (341). The rite concludes with a blessing of the faithful (342).

Note: the core of the rite, namely, the blessing of the body, there is no option for “other words.” This is in keeping with liturgical principles we’ve seen all through the OCF. Introduce the rituals in a way edifying way for the faithful. Stick to the script at the important moments.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Order of Christian Funerals, post-conciliar liturgy documents, Rites. Bookmark the permalink.

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