The wondrous blessing of new life

By Catherine Sheehan

“Every new human life is a wondrous thing, each child in the womb is a miracle,” Archbishop Julian said during the Mass and Blessing for Children in the Womb celebrated at St Mary’s Cathedral on Saturday 29 April.

“A couple can only contemplate the miracle that they have co-created—a new human being—created in union with the Author of all life, God himself,” the Archbishop said.

“When we ponder the life in the womb we stand before a marvel of God. Each person is a unique work of the creative love of God. Each mother and father lift their hearts to God in thankful praise, knowing that their child is indeed, ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’.”

Seven expectant mothers were blessed and encouraged in their journey of motherhood at the Mass and Blessing for Children in the Womb. Photo: Josh Low

Seven expectant mothers together with their husbands gathered for the special Mass and blessing, a new initiative organised by the Archdiocese’s Office of Life, Marriage and Family.

“I was aware that quite a few young Catholic couples happened to be expecting a baby at the same time and I thought it would be a lovely opportunity to celebrate with a special blessing from the Archbishop,” said Dr Rachel Bradley, Director of the Life, Marriage and Family Office.

“I think it’s important to affirm these couples who have committed to one another and also their generosity in welcoming children,” she added.

The Mass and blessing also saw husbands blessed for their role as fathers. Photo: Heather Excell

“The family unit faces many attacks and obstacles from society and it’s good for us as a Church to support families in whatever way we can so they know our prayers and support are with them.”

Cathedral parishioners, Kate and Callum Woods, are expecting the birth of their first child next month. Mrs Woods said she greatly appreciated receiving the special blessing for their unborn child.

“I think it’s a really phenomenal initiative and something that it would be really cool to see in dioceses around the world. It just felt really special that I had one and that the Archbishop wanted to do this,” she said.

Cathedral parishioners, Kate and Callum Woods, are expecting the birth of their first child next month. Photo: Josh Low

“It just seems like a really beautiful way to prepare mums and dads for the task ahead of them in labour and everything that happens after.”

Mrs Woods said pregnancy could be a challenging time for parents and the blessing was a welcome reassurance of God’s grace.

“It’s a really sacred and vulnerable time,” she said.

“Babies in the womb and newborns are in a very fragile and dependent state of life, and especially before they’re baptised you want every grace and blessing to ensure safe passage into the world, and to be sure that things are going to go according to God’s plan.

Archbishop Julian with the expectant families. Photo: Heather Excell

“It’s also a great way to open ourselves up to the presence of the Holy Spirit in what can be, I think particularly for many mothers, a really scary time and one that tests you to your physical limits, and so to have that blessing for the labour and the task ahead is something that’s really helpful.”

Dr Bradley said she hoped the Mass and Blessing for Children in the Womb would become a regular event.

“I found it really moving and we hope to do it again at least annually,” Dr Bradley said.

Tags: Front Page News, Life Family Marriage