When Hello is Goodbye: Blessing of the body for fetal and newborn loss

Service of Memorializing, Blessing and Naming for a Baby Who Has or Will Soon Die in the Hospital

Opening Prayer

Sweet one, you have fought hard to stay with us.  Listen to the fervent wishes for your well being that fill our hearts.  As we prepare ourselves to bless you, hear this prayer from your parents who have loved you with such love, from the nurses who did everything in their power to care for you, your brothers and sisters who waited expectantly for your arrival, and this world itself which needed your eyes to see it and needed your breath to breathe its air.  

Naming Liturgy

Rose: We name this child today so that we will remember her coming among us.  What name do you give this child?

Parents: We name her ______.

Rose: Oh child whom we have barely known, we call you ______.  Receive this name as a sign of your uniqueness to us and to this world.  By this name your are known, and will be remembered.  

Blessing of the Body

Blessing of the oil/water:

Great love and joy, you lift us up throughout our life’s journey.  Send your love and joy to us and into this oil/water as we bless ____’s senses.

(Family and friends gathered at ___’s bedside are invited to anoint him/her near each sense organ as each blessing is prayed.)

Blessing of the eyes:

We bless your eyes,____ , for your small glimpse of this world, for all the light and faces and colors you witnessed.

Blessing of the ears:

We bless your ears,_____ , for the voices your heard in the womb, your mother’s and your father’s, for the sounds of watery noises, and music and thunder and the onions sizzling in the skillet.  We bless your ears, that you might somehow have heard the love we sang to you.

Blessing of the heart:

We bless you heart, ____, that you know how much we love you.  That you will always be carried in our hearts, always a love of ours.

Blessing of the feet:

We bless your feet, ____, unsullied by the world, for their little toes and little bones.

Blessing of the hands:

We bless your hands, ___, for the skill and grace they could have possessed.  We wish we had been able hold hands with you as you grew and learned to use them.  



Closing Prayer

Compassionate and loving one, give strength and comfort to this family and all those who grieve the loss of this child.  In their sorrow and pain may they experience a healing presence and come to accept what has happened.  Help them, to trust in goodness and wisdom in the days ahead.  

Amen, and Blessed Be


Note: Service adapted from University of Minnesota Medical Center Spiritual Health Services