Who Participates: Priest, deacon, or layperson, adoptive parents, adoptee

Materials: Roman Catholic "Book of Blessings"

The Ritual: The Roman Catholic "Book of Blessings" features a simple rite that serves as both a welcome and thanksgiving for the gift of an adopted child. "Order for the Blessing of Parents and an Adopted Child" can be led by a priest, deacon, or layperson.

Opening with a song and the sign of the cross, the service continues with the passage from Mark's Gospel in which Jesus blesses the children and rebukes his disciples for trying to keep them from him (Mark 10:13-16).

The parents make vows to love and care for the child, who, depending on age, can then vow to love and respect them. Intercessory prayers for the church, the parents and child, siblings, couples trying to have children, and Christian families in general follow. The Lord's Prayer is recited, and a blessing is spoken. At this point, the new family can be sprinkled with holy water. The service concludes with a benediction asking God to fill all present with grace and peace.

The Meaning: This ritual consecrates the new family in the Roman Catholic tradition.

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