Diocese celebrates motherhood with blessing of child in the womb
A week before Mother’s Day, Bishop Michael W. Fisher said he would celebrate a second Mother’s Day – one for expectant mothers. The May 1 Mass at St. Joseph Cathedral included the rite for the blessing of a child in the womb.
“I’m not sure about that term (expectant mother),” the bishop mused. “I know expecting means they’re waiting. They’re expecting to see their child, but they’re already mothers. So, we welcome them in a very special way on this third Sunday of Easter where we pray for them, we pray for the health of their child, and we pray for those who are experiencing a difficult pregnancy at this time. We pray for their well-being and that of their child.”
Jesus’ invitation to Peter to “feed my flock,” as heard in the Gospel of John, is a request to all people to tend to the most vulnerable.
“We have pastoral responsibility for each other,” Bishop Fisher said while closing his homily. “We believe as Christians, as Catholics, as a people and family of God that every life is precious from conception to death. Every human being has dignity, potential, and a call to share in that beautiful vision that we have from John’s Book of Revelation, that vision where we’re all gathered around the Lord’s table at the ultimate feast with one another – the saints, the angels in all of us. Isn’t this what we are called to be as we grow together as a family of faith?”
A dozen couples came forward for a blessing of the child in the womb. Each received a baby blanket provided by the diocesan Office of Pastoral Ministries who sponsored the Mass.
Mark and Stephanie Parry, from Newburgh, were in town for their daughter’s state gymnastics championship. They learned about the special blessing while researching Masses in the area.
“And since we’re nine months pregnant, we figured we’d come,” said Stephanie.
The Mass closed a special weekend as their oldest daughter placed third in the state gymnastic finals and saw her first liturgy celebrated by a bishop.
“I travel a lot for work, so any time I’m in a large city where the cathedral’s at, I always try to attend the cathedral. The girls have never been to a Mass where the bishop was the celebrant. So, it was a no brainer to come here and enjoy the beauty of the cathedral,” said Mark. “It’s a wonderful cathedral. It’s beautiful. It speaks to the beauty of the faith.”
As May 1 is the Feast Day St. Joseph the Worker, Bishop Fisher and Father Sean Paul Fleming, the cathedral rector, recognized John and Marsi Rohde with the Lay Award of St. Joseph the Worker. The two were unable to attend the St. Joseph the Worker Mass in March.