The Churching of a New Mother

The Churching of a New Mother

At the Vultus Christi blog, we are told of an old rite called “The Churching of Woman after Childbirth.”

Essentially, the rite is an office of thanksgiving. The new mother, returning to church forty days after giving birth, is greeting at the door of the church by the priest. Holding a lighted candle in one hand and the end of the priest’s stole in the other, she is led to the altar where, kneeling, she receives a special blessing and offers thanksgiving to God for the birth of her child.

The whole rite is included. What it doesn’t say is whether the mother has to wait 40 days before she can go back to Mass again or if the rite is just a formal welcoming.

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  • There is a very similar Anglican rite which was in the Book of Common Prayer through 1928. It was eliminated in the 1979 BCP.

    I assume that it has roots going back at least to 1559, and probably before.

  • Keep in mind that in the Liturgy we speak of “cleaning” the sacred vessels after they’ve held the Eucharist. It’s not that the Eucharist makes them dirty or “unclean” but that vessels used for sacred purpose must be treated in a special way. Same way with mothers.