Visits to a Sick Child

Visits to a Sick Child

Let the children come to me, do not keep them from me.

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.


66. One of the following readings may be used for a brief liturgy of the word. Other readings may be chosen, for example Mark 5:21-23, 35-43, Jesus raises the daughter of Jairus and gives her back to her parents; Mark 9:14-27, Jesus cures a boy and gives him back to his father; Luke 7:11-15, Jesus raises a young man, the only son of his mother, and gives him back to her; John 4:46-53, Jesus gives his second sign by healing an official’s son. In addition, other stories concerning the Lord’s healing ministry may be found suitable, especially if told with the simplicity and clarity of one of the children’s versions of Scripture.

A Mark 9:33-37

Jesus proposes the child as the ideal of those who would enter the kingdom.

A reading from the holy gospel according to Mark

Jesus and his disciples came to Capernaum and, once inside the house, he began to ask them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” But they remained silent. They had been discussing among themselves on the way who was the greatest. Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” Taking a child he placed it in their midst, and putting his arms around it he said to them, “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the one who sent me.”

B Mark 10:13-16

Jesus welcomes the children and lays hands on them.

A reading from the holy gospel according to Mark

People were bringing children to him that he might touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.” Then he embraced them and blessed them, placing his hands on them.

Additional readings may be found in Pastoral Care of the Sick - Readings found in the ‘Rites’ Section of the iBreviary.


67. After the reading of the word of God, time may be set apart for silent reflection if the child is capable of this form of prayer. The minister should also explain the meaning of the reading to those present, adapting it to their circumstances.

The minister may then help the child and the family to respond to the word of God. The following short responsory may be used:

Jesus, come to me.
Jesus, come to me.

Jesus, put your hand on me.
Jesus, put your hand on me.

Jesus, bless me.
Jesus, bless me.

The Lord’s Prayer

68. The minister introduces the Lord’s Prayer in these or similar words:

Let us pray to the Father using those words which Jesus himself used:

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.

Concluding Prayer

69. The minister says a concluding prayer. One of the following may be used:


God of love,
ever caring,
ever strong,
stand by us in our time of need.
Watch over your child N. who is sick,
look after him/her in every danger,
and grant him/her your healing and peace.
We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord.
R. Amen.


in your love
you gave us Jesus
to help us rise triumphant over grief and pain.
Look on your child N. who is sick
and see in his/her sufferings those of your Son.
Grant N. a share in the strength
you granted your Son
that he/she too may be a sign
of your goodness, kindness, and loving care.
We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord.
R. Amen.


70. The minister makes a sign of the cross on the child’s forehead, saying one of the following:


, when you were baptized,
you were marked with the cross of Jesus.
I (we) make this cross + on your forehead
and ask the Lord to bless you,
and restore you to health.
R. Amen.


All praise and glory is yours, heavenly God,
for you have called us to serve you in love.
Have mercy on us and listen to our prayer
as we ask you to help N.

Bless + your beloved child,
and restore him/her to health
in the name of Jesus the Lord.
R. Amen.

Each one present may in turn trace the sign of the cross on the child’s forehead, in silence.

If the minister is a priest or deacon, he immediately concludes:

May the blessing of almighty God,
the Father, and the Son + and the Holy Spirit,
come upon you and remain with you for ever.
R. Amen.

The priest may then lay hands upon the sick child, in silence.

A minister who is not a priest or deacon invokes God’s blessing and makes the sign of the cross on himself or herself, while saying:

May the Lord + bless us,
protect us from all evil,
and bring us to everlasting life.
R. Amen.

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