Monday, March 09, 2009

The Naming Ceremony Experience

While I have a few minutes left of my lunch break, I thought I would just mention how the Naming Ceremony was on Sunday that my husband and I attended.

The purpose of the ceremony was to recognize the children that all those in attendance had lost due to Miscarriage, Stillbirth, or Abortion. There were probably about 20 people there. When we walked in we got cards on which to write our names and our child's name. At the time I didn't know what they were for, but I took two, one for each of our children, grabbed a program, and we found a seat.

So the first part of this service was similar to the Liturgy of the Word during Mass. One difference was that in place of the First (Old Testament) Reading they read the poem Whispers from Heaven. I was introduced to two versions of this poem shortly after Zachary's death and it makes me cry every time. Following this there was a Psalm and a Second (New Testament) Reading.

One of the deacons gave the homily and he did mention his own experiences of losing a child. Other than that, his homily was a bit all over the place.

Following the homily, they invited anyone who had lost a child to come up and with either the deacons or the priest, we would say a prayer for our children and light a candle. The prayers we said were very nice, entrusting our children into Christ's arms and praying that we will one day see them again in the Kingdom of Heaven. I couldn't get through the part that we had to recite, I kept crying. So I'm so glad Chris was with me. He ended up saying most of the prayer himself. I just knew that I would burst into tears if I tried to talk.

We recived two candles, one each for Casey and Zachary. Also, the cards I had filled out were given to the deacons so they could put my babies' names in the prayers and then the cards were left in a basket. I presume that maybe the cards would be used for praying for us and our children later.

Following the service a few people stood up to tell a bit about there own experiences. Plus everyone was invited to the parish center following the service to talk more and meet others who have had similar experiences. We were not able to stay, Chris was cooking soup and needed to get back.

Overall, it was really a wonderful experience and a very healing time. We had already named our children and have gotten used to refering to them by their names. But for those who might not have done that I'm sure it offered a greater level of healing and comfort to know that they have a child in heaven and can refer to that child by name.

I heard something recently and I honestly can't remember where. But it has stuck with me for a while and I wanted to mention it here. Someone once mentioned that they found immense comfort after the loss of a child when someone (a priest maybe) mentioned that she should stop praying FOR her child and instead pray TO her child. Our children are now saints in heaven. They can pray for us. We only need to ask.

And I like that I can specifically ask Casey and Zachary, my two special saints in heaven.

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