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Prayers

Rite of Final Commendation for an Infant

Rite of Committal

The Lord is my shepherd;
fresh and green are the pastures
where he gives me repose


INTRODUCTION

316 The rite of committal, the conclusion of the funeral rites (see nos. 204-215), is celebrated at the grave, tomb, or crematorium and may be used for burial at sea.

Three forms of the rite of committal are provided for the funeral of a child: “Rite of Committal,” “Rite of Committal with Final Commendation,” and “Rite of Final Commendation for an Infant.”

317 The rite of committal is used when the final commendation and farewell is celebrated within the funeral liturgy. The rite of committal with final commendation is used when the final commendation is not celebrated within the funeral liturgy.

When the funeral liturgy is celebrated on a day prior to the committal or in a different community, the minister may wish to adapt the rite of committal, for example, by adding a song, a greeting, one or more readings, a psalm, and a brief homily. When no funeral liturgy precedes the rite of committal, the rite of committal with final commendation is used and should be similarly adapted.

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.


Go to the Blessing of the Body
Go to the Prayer of Commendation and Blessing

BRIEF ADDRESS

337 In the following or similar words, the minister addresses those who have assembled.

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.

SCRIPTURE VERSE

338 The minister then introduces the Scripture verse.

The Lord speaks to us now of our hope for this child in these words of consolation.

A member of the family or one of those present reads one of the following verses.

A Romans 5:5b


The love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

B 1 John 3:2

Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

BLESSING of the BODY

339 Using the following words, the minister blesses the body of the deceased child.

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.

Then all join the minister, saying:

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


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:

Lord, have mercy.

R.Lord, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

R. Christ, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

R. Lord, have mercy.

THE LORD’S PRAYER

340 Using the following or similar words, the minister invites those present to pray the Lord’s Prayer.

When Jesus gathered his disciples around him, he taught them to pray:

All say:

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

PRAYER of COMMENDATION

341 The minister then says the following prayer.

Tender Shepherd of the flock,
N. now lies cradled in your love.
Soothe the hearts of his/her parents
and bring peace to their lives.
Enlighten their faith
and give hope to their hearts.

Loving God,
grant mercy to your entire family in this time of suffering.
Comfort us with the hope that this child [N.]
lives with you and your Son, Jesus Christ,
and the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever.
R. Amen.

BLESSING

342 Using one of the following blessings, the minister blesses those present.

A A minister who is a priest or deacon says:


May the God of all consolation
bring you comfort and peace,
in the name of the Father, of + and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit.
R. Amen.

B A lay minister invokes God’s blessing and signs himself or herself with the sign of the cross, saying:

May the God of all consolation
bring us comfort and peace,
in the name of the Father, and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit.
R. Amen.

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