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Note: Priests for Life is happy to make the following available with the kind permission of the author, Fr. Terry Gensemer, a priest of the Charismatic Episcopal Church. He serves in Birmingham, Alabama, and has been a friend of Priests for Life for many years.

Revised 1/15/02

Liturgy at the Time of Death for the Pre-born

The following is a Christian service prepared for the Pre-born infants who will die in abortion chambers on this day.

A Prayer for the Pre-born

Almighty God, look on these your servants, lying in great weakness, and comfort them with the promise of life everlasting, given in the resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Litany at the Time of Death

Since the closest relatives to those about to die have abandoned them today, the Christians who are present come together to join in the Litany.

God the Father,
Have mercy on your servants.
God the Son,
Have mercy on your servants.
God the Holy Spirit,
Have mercy on your servants.

Holy Trinity, one God,
Have mercy on your servants.
From all evil works, from all tribulation,
Good Lord, deliver them.
By your holy Incarnation, by your Cross and Passion, by your precious Death and Burial,
Good Lord, deliver them.
By your glorious Resurrection and Ascension, and by the Coming of the Holy Spirit,
Good Lord, deliver them.
We sinners beseech you to hear us, Lord Christ:
That it may please you to deliver the souls of your servants from the power of evil, and from eternal death,
We beseech you to hear us, good Lord.
That it may please you to grant them a place of refreshment and everlasting blessedness,
We beseech you to hear us, good Lord.
That it may please you to give them joy and gladness in your kingdom, with your saints in light,
We beseech you to hear us, good Lord.
Jesus, Lamb of God:
Have mercy on them.
Jesus, bearer of our sins:
Have mercy on them.
Jesus, redeemer of the world:
Give them your peace.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

The Deacon or Celebrant then says

Let us confess our sins unto Almighty God.
Almighty and most merciful Father,
we have erred and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep,
we have followed too much the devices and desires of our
own hearts, we have offended against thy holy laws,
we have left undone those things which we ought to
have done, and we have done those things which we ought not to
have done.
But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us,
spare thou those who confess their faults,
restore thou those who are penitent,
according to thy promises declared unto mankind
in Christ Jesus our Lord;
and grant, O most merciful Father, for His sake,
that we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life,
to the glory of thy holy Name. Amen.

The Bishop when present, or the Priest, stands and says

The Almighty and merciful Lord grant you absolution and
remission of all your sins, true repentance, amendment of
life, and the grace and consolation of his Holy Spirit. Amen.

Officiant and People

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy Name,
thy kingdom come, thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those
who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

The Officiant says the Collect

Let us pray.
Deliver your servants, The Pre-born, O Sovereign Lord
Christ, from all evil, and set them free from every bond;
that they may rest with all your saints in the eternal habitations;
where with the Father and the Holy Spirit you live and reign,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

A Commendation at the Time of Death

Depart, O Christian souls, out of this world;
In the Name of God the Father Almighty who created you;
In the Name of Jesus Christ who redeemed you;
In the Name of the Holy Spirit who sanctifies you.
May your rest be this day in peace,
and your dwelling place in the Paradise of God.

A Commendatory Prayer

Into your hands, O merciful Savior, we commend your
servants the Pre-born. Acknowledge, we humbly beseech you,
the sheep of your own fold, the lambs of your own flock,
the children of your own redeeming. Receive them into the arms of your mercy, into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the glorious company of the saints in light. Amen.

In the mercy of Christ, may their souls and the souls of all the departed, rest in peace. Amen.

Prayers for a Vigil

It is appropriate that the Pre-born’s Christian family and friends come together for prayers since these innocent children
have been deprived of any Christian service, including Baptism or a funeral. Suitable Psalms, Lessons, and Collects (such as those in the Burial service) may be used.

Collect

Almighty and merciful God, recognizing our own participation
in the deaths of these children and the deception of those who
would actively participate in their deaths, we ask that you would
grant mercy and grace to the Pre-born and bring the deceived
into a true conversion experience that they may know you, Jesus
Christ who lives and reigns, One God forever and ever Amen.

These Scriptures or others the celebrant feels are appropriate may be read.

Reading of the Psalm – Psalm 2 or Psalm 110

Old Testament Reading – Isaiah 59:1-20 or Jeremiah 1:1-12

New Testament Reading – Philippians 4:4-9

At the conclusion of the Old and New Testament readings,

the people respond The Word of the Lord

Gospel Reading – Luke 4:16-21 or Matthew 19:13-15

Homily the Officiant

The Nicene Creed (Inside Front Cover)

We believe (I believe) in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, and born of the Father before all ages. (God of God) light of light, true God of true God. Begotten not made, of one being with the Father, by whom all things were made. Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven. And was incarnate of the Holy Ghost and of the Virgin Mary and was made man; was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate, suffered and was buried; and the third day rose again according to the Scriptures. And ascended into heaven, sits at the right hand of the Father, and shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead, of whose Kingdom there shall be no end. And (I believe) in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of life, who proceeds from the Father (and the Son), who together with the Father and the Son is to be adored and glorified, who spoke by the Prophets. And one holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. We confess (I confess) one baptism for the remission of sins. And we look for (I look for) the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.

The Litany at the Time of Death may be said, or the following,

Dear Friends: It was our Lord Jesus himself who said,
"Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you
rest." Let us pray, then, for our brothers and sisters the Pre-born, that
they may rest from their labors, and enter into the light of God's
eternal Sabbath rest.
Receive, O Lord, your servants, for they return to you.
Into your hands, O Lord,
we commend our brothers and sisters.

Wash them in the holy font of everlasting life, and clothe
them in their heavenly wedding garments.
Into your hands, O Lord,
we commend our brothers and sisters.

May they hear your words of invitation, "Come, you blessed of
my Father."
Into your hands, O Lord,
we commend our brothers and sisters.

May they gaze upon you, Lord, face to face, and taste the
blessedness of perfect rest.
Into your hands, O Lord,
we commend our brothers and sisters.

May angels surround them, and saints welcome them in peace.
Into your hands, O Lord,
we commend our brothers and sisters.

The Officiant concludes

Almighty God, our Father in heaven, before whom live all
who die in the Lord: Receive our brothers and sisters into
the courts of your heavenly dwelling place.
Let their hearts and souls now ring out in joy to you,
O Lord, the living God, and the God of those who live.
This we ask through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Various Prayers for Life

 

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