On Sunday, December 16, 2012, in churches throughout the nation, prayers were offered for the victims and community of Newtown, Conn., in the wake of the school shooting that took the lives of 27 people.
The Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge addressed the tragedy in his homily during the celebration of the 10:30 Mass at St. Michael the Archangel Church in Cary. “We come to Church today with heavy hearts and deep sadness in the aftermath of the horrific killing of innocent children and adults in Newtown, Connecticut,” Bishop Burbidge said. “We pray for their families and the entire community and as we seek strength and consolation for ourselves and entire nation.”
Reflecting on the Third Sunday of Advent’s scripture reading from St. Paul, the Bishop said, “We hear this message: ‘Rejoice in the Lord always!’ We may ask, How is it possible to rejoice? His (St. Paul’s) message was clear,” Bishop Burbidge explained. “'The Lord is near!' In and through Him, we find strength, comfort and graces in abundance, especially in our time of need.”
Following the homily, Bishop Burbidge bestowed the Blessing of the Child in the Womb on 12 expectant parents, in the presence of their families and the parish community. The Blessing is a new Rite instituted by the Church that can be requested at any time during the year by expectant parents.
Chris and Angie Edwards were one couple present to receive the Blessing. Angie, who is Protestant, was invited to the Mass by her husband’s family. It was the first time she attended a Catholic Mass and said afterward that the Blessing brought tears to her eyes.
“In this blessing,” Bishop Burbidge said, “We celebrate the Truth that God is the Author of all human life and the One who promises us life without end. To the God of Life, we entrust ourselves and all those we love and all the innocent who have been killed.”
Read Bishop Burbidge’s homily
Watch Bishop Burbidge’s homily
Listen to the Blessing of the Child in the Womb with pictures of the Blessing (several photos courtesy of Robert J. Witchger)
Click photos below to view larger.
Above: Bishop Burbidge conducting Rite of Blessing of the Child in the Womb during Mass at St. Michael the Archangel Church in Cary.
Below: Twelve expectant couples receiving Blessing.