at the approach of confinement

{In the Middle Ages it was customary for a pastor to announce from the pulpit on Sundays the names of women whose time of childbirth was close at hand, and to ask the people’s prayers for them. But his solicitude did not stop there. He also visited the homes of such women, first said prayers outside the home, and then entered and administered the sacraments and the sacramentals of the Church. Without going quite to these lengths today, an occasional word of instruction about this very fine blessing would encourage some women to present themselves for it.}

P: Our help is in the name of the Lord.

All: Who made heaven and earth.

P: Save your servant.

All: Who trusts in you, my God.

P: Let her find in you, Lord, a tower of strength.

All: In the face of the enemy.

P: Let the enemy have no power over her.

All: And the son of iniquity be powerless to harm her.

P: Lord, send her aid from your holy place.

All: And watch over her from Sion.

P: Lord, heed my prayer.

All: And let my cry be heard by you.

P: The Lord be with you.

All: May He also be with you.

Let us pray.

Almighty everlasting God, who enable us, your servants, in our profession of the true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the three Persons in the eternal Godhead, and to adore their oneness of nature, their co-equal majesty; grant, we pray, that by steadfastness in that faith this servant of yours, N., may ever be guarded against all adversity; through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.
Let us pray.

Lord God, Creator of all things, mighty and awesome, just and forgiving, you alone are good and kind. You saved Israel from all manner of plagues, making our forefathers your chosen people, and hallowing them by the touch of your Spirit. You, by the co- operation of the Holy Spirit, prepared the body and soul of the glorious Virgin Mary to be a worthy dwelling for your Son. You filled John the Baptist with the Holy Spirit, causing him to leap with joy in his mother’s womb. Accept the offering of a humble spirit, and grant the heartfelt desire of your servant, N. who pleads for the safety of the child you allowed her to conceive. Guard the life that is yours; defend it from all the craft and spite of the pitiless foe. Let your gentle hand, like that of a skilled physician, aid her delivery, bringing her offspring safe and sound to the light of day. May her child live to be reborn in holy baptism, and continuing always in your service, be found worthy of attaining everlasting life; through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.

The priest sprinkles the woman with holy water and then adds the following:

Psalm 66

P: May God have pity on us and bless us; * may He let His face shine upon us.

All: So may His way be known upon earth; * among all nations, His salvation.

P: May the peoples praise you, O God; * may all the peoples praise you.

All: May all the nations be glad and exult because you rule the peoples in equity; * you guide the nations on earth.

P: May the peoples praise you, O God; * may all the peoples praise you.

All: The earth has yielded its fruits; * God, our God, has blessed us.

P: May God bless us, * and may all the ends of the earth fear him.

All: Glory be to the Father.

P: As it was in the beginning.

P: Let us bless the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

All: Let us praise and glorify Him forever.

P: God has given His angels charge over you.

All: To guard you in all your paths.

P: Lord, heed my prayer. All: And let my cry be heard by you. P: The Lord be with you. All: May He also be with you.

Let us pray.

Lord, we beg you to visit this dwelling, and to drive away from it and from this servant of yours, N, all the enemy’s wiles. Let your holy angels be appointed here to keep her and her offspring in peace; and let your blessing + ever rest upon her. Save them, almighty God, and grant them your everlasting light; through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.

May the blessing of almighty God, Father, Son, + and Holy Spirit, come on you and your child, and remain with you forever.

All: Amen.