Churching of Women


Churching of Women
Churching of Women
A blessing given by the Church to mothers after recovery from childbirth

Catholic Encyclopedia. . 2006.

Churching of Women
    Churching of Women
     Catholic_Encyclopedia Churching of Women
    A blessing given by the Church to mothers after recovery from childbirth. Only a Catholic woman who has given birth to a child in legitimate wedlock, provided she has not allowed the child to be baptized outside the Catholic Church, is entitled to it. It is not a precept, but a pious and praiseworthy custom (Rituale Romanum), dating from the early Christian ages, for a mother to present herself in the Church as soon as she is able to leave her house (St. Charles Borromeo, First Council of Milan), to render thanks to God for her happy delivery, and to obtain by means of the priestly blessing the graces necessary to bring up her child in a Christian manner. The prayers indicate that this blessing is intended solely for the benefit of the mother, and hence it is not necessary that she should bring the child with her; nevertheless, in many places the pious and edifying custom prevails of specially dedicating the child to God. For, as the Mother of Christ carried her Child to the Temple to offer Him to the Eternal Father, so a Christian mother is anxious to present her offspring to God and obtain for it the blessing of the Church. This blessing, in the ordinary form, without change or omission, is to be given to the mother, even if her child was stillborn, or has died without baptism (Cong. Sac. Rit., 19 May, 1896).
    The churching of women is not a strictly parochial function, yet the Congregation of Sacred Rites (21 November, 1893) decided that a parish priest, if asked to give it, must do so, and if another priest is asked to perform the rite, he may do so in any church or public oratory, provided the superior of said church or oratory be notified. It must be imparted in a church or in a place in which Mass is celebrated, as the very name "churching" is intended to suggest a pilgrimage of thanksgiving to the church, and as the rubrics indicate in the expressions: "desires to come to the church", "he conducts her into the church", she kneels before the altar", etc. Hence the Second Plenary Council of Baltimore (No. 246) prohibits the practice of churching in places in which Mass is not celebrated.
    The mother, kneeling in the vestibule, or within the church, and carrying a lighted candle, awaits the priest, who, vested in surplice and white stole, sprinkles her with holy water in the form of a cross. Having recited Psalm 23, "The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof", he offers her the left extremity of the stole and leads her into the church, saying: "Enter thou into the temple of God, adore the Son of the Blessed Virgin Mary who has given thee fruitfulness of offspring." She advances to one of the altars and kneels before it, whilst the priest, turned towards her, recites a prayer which expresses the object of the blessing, and then, having sprinkled her again with holy water in the form of the cross, dismisses her, saying: "The peace and blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, descend upon thee, and remain forever. Amen."
    A.J. SCHULTE
    Transcribed by Christine J. Murray

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VIII. — New York: Robert Appleton Company. . 1910.


Catholic encyclopedia.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Churching of women — Presentation in the Temple, the biblical account upon which the churching of women is based. (Hans Memling, c. 1470, Museo del Prado. Madrid). In Christian tradition the Churching of Women is the ceremony wherein a blessing is given to mothers… …   Wikipedia

  • Churching of Women — The act of thanksgiving that Christian women offer after childbirth. The custom, is based on the Jewish rite of Purification (Lev. 12. 6). Women cannot receive the Holy Communion before forty days after the birth of a male child, and eighty days… …   Dictionary of church terms

  • Churching — For the ceremony wherein a blessing is given to mothers after recovery from childbirth, see Churching of women. Churching refers to the attendance of any church activity, including Sunday School, sacrament meetings, and weekday activities.… …   Wikipedia

  • Churching — Church Church, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Churched}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Churching}.] To bless according to a prescribed form, or to unite with in publicly returning thanks in church, as after deliverance from the dangers of childbirth; as, the churching… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Churching —    Equivalent to the Purification among the Jews, and which in the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary is commemorated as a Feast of the Church on February 2. The reader is directed to the service set forth in the Prayer Book under the title, The… …   American Church Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • churching —    Jewish law stated that women were under taboo after childbirth, because of pollution by blood, until ritually cleansed by a priest (Leviticus 12: 1 8); Mary obeyed this rule after the birth of Jesus (Luke 2: 22 4). Modern liturgies stress… …   A Dictionary of English folklore

  • churching — noun Date: 15th century the administration or reception of a rite of the church; specifically a ceremony in some churches by which women after childbirth are received in the church with prayers, blessings, and thanksgiving …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • churching — church ceremony given to women after childbirth Ecclesiastical Terms …   Phrontistery dictionary

  • churching — ˈchərchiŋ, ə̄ch , əich noun ( s) Etymology: from gerund of church (II) : the administration or reception of a rite of the church; specifically : a ceremony in some high liturgical churches by which after childbirth women are received in the… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Ritual purification — is a feature of many religions. The aim of these rituals is to remove specifically defined uncleanliness prior to a particular type of activity, and especially prior to the worship of a deity. This ritual uncleanliness is not however identical… …   Wikipedia


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