Prayers

Vigil for a Deceased Child

VIGIL for a DECEASED CHILD

It is good to wait in silence for the Lord

Go to the Introductory Rites

Go to the Liturgy of the Word

Go to the Prayer of Intercession

Go to the Concluding Rite


Introduction

243
The vigil for the deceased is the principal celebration of the Christian community during the time before the funeral liturgy or, if there is no funeral liturgy, before the rite of committal. The vigil may take the form of a liturgy of the word, as described in Part I, nos. 57-68, or of some part of the office for the dead.

244 The vigil may be celebrated at a convenient time in the home of the deceased child, in the funeral home, parlor or chapel of rest, or in some other suitable place. The vigil may also be celebrated in the church, but at a time well before the funeral liturgy, so that the funeral liturgy will not be lengthy and the liturgy of the word repetitious. When the body is brought to the church for the celebration of the vigil, the vigil begins with the rite of reception (see no. 58). Otherwise the vigil begins with a greeting, followed by an opening song, an invitation to prayer, and an opening prayer.

245 After the opening prayer, the vigil continues with the liturgy of the word, which usually includes a first reading, responsorial psalm, gospel reading, and homily. If there is to be only one reading, however, it should be the gospel reading. The prayer of intercession, which includes a litany, the Lord’s Prayer, and a concluding prayer, then follows. Alternative concluding prayers are provided for use in the case of a baptized child or of a child who died before baptism. The vigil concludes with a blessing, which may be followed by a song or a few moments of silent prayer or both.

246 The minister should adapt the vigil to the circumstances. If, for example, a large number of children are present or if the vigil is held in the home of the deceased child, elements of the rite may be simplified or shortened and other elements or symbols that have special meaning for those taking part may be incorporated into the celebration. If custom and circumstances suggest, a member or a friend of the family may speak in remembrance of the deceased child.

247 The vigil celebrated at the church may begin with the rite of reception (nos. 248-252) which then serves as the introductory rite. Otherwise the vigil may begin with an opening song followed by a greeting (no. 248) and the invitation to prayer (no. 253).


INTRODUCTORY RITES

Greeting

248 The minister, with assisting ministers, goes to the door of the church and using one of the following greetings, or in similar words, greets those present.

A
May Christ Jesus, who welcomed children and laid his hands in blessing upon them, comfort you with his peace and be always with you.
R. And also with you. [And with your spirit.]

B
May the God of hope give you the fullness of peace, and may the Lord of life be always with you.
R. And also with you. [And with your spirit.]

C
The grace and peace of God our Father, who raised Jesus from the dead, be always with you.
R. And also with you. [And with your spirit.]

D
May the Father of mercies, the God of all consolation, be with you.
R. And also with you. [And with your spirit.]

Sprinkling with Holy Water or Brief Address


249 If the child was baptized, the minister sprinkles the coffin with holy water (option A). If the child died before baptism, the sprinkling with holy water is omitted and a brief address is given (option B).

A Sprinkling with Holy Water—If the child was baptized, the minister then sprinkles the coffin with holy water, saying:


In the waters of baptism
N. died with Christ and rose with him to new life.
May he /she now share with him eternal glory.

B Brief Address— If the child died before baptism, the minister may then address the mourners in the following or similar words.

My brothers and sisters, the Lord is a faithful God who created us all after his own image. All things are of his making, all creation awaits the day of salvation. We now entrust the soul of N. to the abundant mercy of God, that our beloved child may find a home in his kingdom.

Placing of the Pall

250 If it is the custom in the local community and the child was baptized, the pall is then placed on the coffin by family members, friends, or the minister.

Entrance Procession


251 The Easter candle may be placed beforehand near the position the coffin will occupy at the conclusion of the procession. The minister and assisting ministers precede the coffin and the mourners into the church. During the procession a psalm, song, or responsory is sung (see no. 403).

1

403.1.
Saints of God, come to his/her aid!
Hasten to meet him/her, angels of the Lord!
R. Receive his/her soul and present him/her to God the Most High.

May Christ, who called you, take you to himself;
may angels lead you to the bosom of Abraham.
R. Receive his/her soul and present him/her to God the Most High.

Eternal rest grant unto him/her, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon him/her.
R. Receive his/her soul and present him/her to God the Most High.

Continue with the Opening Rites

2

403.2. Lord our God, receive your servant,
for whom you shed your blood.
R. Remember, Lord, that we are dust: like grass, like a flower of the field.

Merciful Lord, I tremble before you,
ashamed of the things I have done.
R. Remember, Lord, that we are dust: like grass, like a flower of the field.

Continue with the Opening Rites

3

403.3
You knew me, Lord, before I was born.
You shaped me into your image and likeness.
R. I breathe forth my spirit to you, my Creator.

Merciful Lord, I tremble before you:
I am ashamed of the things I have done;
do not condemn me when you come in judgment.
R. I breathe forth my spirit to you, my Creator.

Continue with the Opening Rites

4

403.4
I know that my Redeemer lives:
on the last day I shall rise again.
R. And in my flesh I shall see God.
or
R. On the last day I shall rise again.

I shall see him myself, face to face;
and my own eyes shall behold my Savior.
R. And in my flesh I shall see God.
or
R. On the last day I shall rise again.

Within my heart this hope I cherish:
that in my flesh I shall see God.
R. And in my flesh I shall see God.
or
R. On the last day I shall rise again.

Continue with the Opening Rites

5

403.5. I know that my Redeemer lives,
And on that final day of days,
His voice shall bid me rise again:
Unending joy, unceasing praise!

This hope I cherish in my heart:
To stand on earth, my flesh restored,
And, not a stranger but a friend,
Behold my Savior and my Lord.

Continue with the Opening Rites

6

403.6.
Lazarus you raised, O Lord,
from the decay of the tomb.
R. Grant your servant rest, a haven of pardon and peace.

Eternal rest, O Lord,
and your perpetual light.
R. Grant your servant rest, a haven of pardon and peace.

Continue with the Opening Rites

7

403.7.
You shattered the gates of bronze
and preached to the spirits in prison.
R. Deliver me, Lord, from the streets of darkness.

A light and a revelation
to those confined in darkness.
R. Deliver me, Lord, from the streets of darkness.

“Redeemer, you have come,”
they cried, the prisoners of silence.
R. Deliver me, Lord, from the streets of darkness.

Eternal rest, O Lord,
and your perpetual light.
R. Deliver me, Lord, from the streets of darkness.

Placing of Christian Symbols

252 symbol of the Christian life, such as a cross, may be carried in procession, then placed on the coffin, either in silence or as a text from no. 400 is said.

Invitation to Prayer


253 In the following or similar words, the minister invites those present to pray.

Let us pray for this child and entrust him/her to the care of our loving God.

Pause for silent prayer.

Opening Prayer

254 The minister says one of the following prayers.

A baptized child 1    A baptized child 2    A baptized child 3   A baptized child 4    A baptized child 5    A baptized child 6    A baptized child 7    A child who died before baptism 1   A child who died before baptism 2   A stillborn child

A 254.A A baptized child 1

To you, O Lord,
we humbly entrust this child,
so precious in your sight.
Take him /her into your arms
and welcome him /her into paradise,
where there will be no sorrow, no weeping nor pain,
but the fullness of peace and joy
with your Son and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever.
R. Amen.

Go to the Liturgy of the Word

B 254.B A baptized child 2

Lord, in our grief we call upon your mercy:
open your ears to our prayers,
and one day unite us again with N.,
who, we firmly trust,
already enjoys eternal life in your kingdom.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

Go to the Liturgy of the Word

399.8 A baptized child 3

Lord of all gentleness,
surround us with your care
and comfort us in our sorrow,
for we grieve at the loss of this [ little ] child.

As you washed N. in the waters of baptism
and welcomed him / her into the life of heaven,
so call us one day
to be united with him / her
and share for ever the joy of your kingdom.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

Go to the Liturgy of the Word

399.9 A baptized child 4

Eternal Father,
through the intercession of Mary,
who bore your Son and stood by the cross as he died,
grant to these parents in their grief
the assistance of her presence,
the comfort of her faith,
and the reward of her prayers.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

Go to the Liturgy of the Word

399.10 A baptized child 5

Lord God,
source and destiny of our lives,
in your loving providence
you gave us N.
to grow in wisdom, age, and grace.
Now you have called him / her to yourself.

We grieve over the loss of one so young
and struggle to understand your purpose.

Draw him / her to yourself
and give him / her full stature in Christ.
May he / she stand with all the angels and saints,
who know your love and praise your saving will.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
R. Amen.

Go to the Liturgy of the Word

399.11 A baptized child 6

Merciful Lord,
whose wisdom is beyond human understanding,
you adopted N. as your own in baptism
and have taken him / her to yourself
even as he / she stood on the threshold of life.
Listen to our prayers and extend to us your grace,
that one day we may share eternal life with N.,
for we firmly believe that he/she now rests with you.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

Go to the Liturgy of the Word

399.12 A baptized child 7

Lord God,
from whom human sadness is never hidden,
you know the burden of grief
that we feel at the loss of this child.

As we mourn his / her passing from this life,
comfort us with the knowledge
that N. lives now in your loving embrace.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

Go to the Liturgy of the Word

254.C/399.13 A child who died before baptism 1

O Lord, whose ways are beyond understanding,
listen to the prayers of your faithful people:
that those weighed down by grief
at the loss of this [ little ] child
may find reassurance in your infinite goodness.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

Go to the Liturgy of the Word

399.14 A child who died before baptism 2

God of all consolation,
searcher of mind and heart,
the faith of these parents [N. and N.] is known to you.

Comfort them with the knowledge
that the child for whom they grieve
is entrusted now to your loving care.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

Go to the Liturgy of the Word

399.15 A stillborn child

Lord God,
ever caring and gentle,
we commit to your love this little one,
quickened to life for so short a time.
Enfold him / her in eternal life.

We pray for his / her parents
who are saddened by the loss of their child.
Give them courage
and help them in their pain and grief.
May they all meet one day
in the joy and peace of your kingdom.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

LITURGY of the WORD

255 The celebration continues with the liturgy of the word. Other readings, psalms, and gospel readings are given in Part III and can be found in Readings for the Funerals of Children, found in the ‘Rites’ section of the iBreviary.

First Reading


256 A reader proclaims the first reading.

1 Jn 3:1-2
We shall see God as he really is.

A reading from the first Letter of Saint John

Beloved:
See what love the Father has bestowed on us
   that we may be called the children of God.
Yet so we are.
The reason the world does not know us
   is that it did not know him.
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.

257 The following psalm is sung or said or another psalm or song.

R.
The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

The Lord is my shepherd;
there is nothing I shall want.
Fresh and green are the pastures
where he gives me repose.
Near restful waters he leads me,
to revive my drooping spirit.

R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

He guides me along the right path;
he is true to his name.
If I should walk in the valley of darkness
no evil would I fear.
You are there with your crook and your staff;
with these you give me comfort.

R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

You have prepared a banquet for me
in the sight of my foes.
My head you have anointed with oil;
my cup is overflowing.

R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me
all the days of my life.
In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell
for ever and ever.

R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

Gospel

258 The gospel reading is then proclaimed.

Mk 10:13-16
The kingdom of God belongs to little children.

+ 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 the children and blessed them,
   placing his hands on them.

Homily

259 A brief homily on the readings is then given.

PRAYER of INTERCESSION

Litany

260 The minister leads those present in the following litany.

The Lord Jesus is the lover of his people and our only sure hope.
Let us ask him to deepen our faith and sustain us in this dark hour.

Assisting minister:

You became a little child for our sake, sharing our human life.
To you we pray:

R. Bless us and keep us, O Lord.

ssisting minister:

You grew in wisdom, age, and grace and learned obedience through suffering.
To you we pray:

R. Bless us and keep us, O Lord.

Assisting minister:

You welcomed children, promising them your kingdom.
To you we pray:

R. Bless us and keep us, O Lord.

Assisting minister:

You comforted those who mourned the loss of children and friends.
To you we pray:

R. Bless us and keep us, O Lord.

Assisting minister:

You took upon yourself the suffering and death of us all.
To you we pray:

R. Bless us and keep us, O Lord.

Assisting minister:

You promised to raise up those who believe in you, just as you were raised up in glory by the Father.
To you we pray:

R. Bless us and keep us, O Lord.

The Lord’s Prayer

261 Using one of the following invitations, or in similar words, the minister invites those present to pray the Lord’s Prayer.

A
Together let us pray for strength, for acceptance, and for the coming of the kingdom in the words our Savior taught us:

B In love, God calls us his children, for that indeed is what we are. We ask for the strength we need by praying in the words Jesus gave us:

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

262 The minister says one of the following prayers or one of those provided in nos. 398-399. [See above, no. 254] Go to no. 254

A A baptized child


Lord of all gentleness,
surround us with your care
and comfort us in our sorrow,
for we grieve at the loss of this [little ] child.

As you washed N. in the waters of baptism
and welcomed him/her into the life of heaven,
so call us one day
to be united with him/her and share for ever the joy of your kingdom.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

B A child who died before baptism

Lord Jesus,
whose Mother stood grieving at the foot of the cross,
look kindly on these parents
who have suffered the loss of their child [N.].
Listen to the prayers of Mary on their behalf,
that their faith may be strong like hers
and find its promised reward,
for you live for ever and ever.
R. Amen.

CONCLUDING RITE

Blessing

263 The minister says:

Jesus said: “Let the children come to me. Do not keep them from me. The kingdom of God belongs to such as these!'”

A gesture, for example, signing the forehead of the deceased child with the sign of the cross, may accompany the following words.

Eternal rest grant unto him/her, O Lord.
R. And let perpetual light shine upon him /her.

May he/she rest in peace.
R. Amen.

May his/her soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
R. Amen.

A A minister who is a priest or deacon says:

May the peace of God,
which is beyond all understanding,
keep your hearts and minds
in the knowledge and love of God
and of his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
R. Amen.

May almighty God bless you,
the Father, and the Son, + and 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 love of God and the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ
bless and console us
and gently wipe every tear from our eyes:
in the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
R. Amen.

The vigil may conclude with a song or a few moments of silent prayer or both.

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