Churching - does anyone have any experience?


Does anyone here have experience from their own Church of the practice of “Churching”.

“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 baptised outside the Catholic Church is entitled to it.
It is not a precept, but a pious and praiseworthy custom 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 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”


I looked it up in the Catholic encyclopedia and it is a new thing to me. Never heard of it. It is very cool though!


They do something similar to that where i live frequently.


What about women who give birth outside of wedlock? No blessing for them? Wouldn’t they potentially need the blessing more than someone in a marriage?


I’ve never seen or heard of this in my regular Catholic churches or among any of my large Catholic extended family. A while ago I looked it up because someone else mentioned it and found that most Latin Rite Catholic churches do not do it any more post-Vatican II, one reason being that it gave the impression there was something dirty about childbirth that required the woman to be cleansed (sort of like the old Jewish custom of an unclean person needing to be purified).

I’ve read that traditional and Anglican ordinariate churches might still do it, but as I attend those only infrequently, I haven’t seen this either place.


It´s done in the eastern orthodoxy, too - from there I know this tradition. The first blessing for mother and newborn is one day after birth, and then after 40 days before the woman enters the church oficially again with her baby.
Today, in our church, it´s more a blessing and a happy welcome back ritual after an average time of recovery after birth.


Yes, I second this, Tis-Bearself,

From what I have read, churching of women was a sort of purification ritual from the impurity of childbirth.
It end the post-partum/ rest period, and mark the official come back to the mother to her ordinary duties (as a Christian woman, spouse etc).

And a tradition that is inspired from Jewish laws of Leviticus.


I think that there is an historic element going back to Jewish tradition but the traditional Catholic ceremony was more to do with thanking God for a safe delivery and welcoming the mother back to the Church after her confinement.


I don’t deny it.

Is Churching in traditional parishes are now still after 40 days?
Are woman are expect to not come to mass before the Churching?

Because a lot of women, I think, including myself go to mass with baby a lot time before this time.


Well, from what I’ve read, it really depended on your family and your culture. There were some cultures where women who hadn’t been churched weren’t allowed to touch things in the house, like kitchen ware, because it was thought they might taint it. There were some people who thought women who weren’t blessed after childbirth would taint the church itself, so they had to be blessed before they could come back to Mass.

I have wondered if the ritual had already gone away in USA well before Vatican II because I never heard anybody in my mother’s family (which included at least 5 women who would have been having many Catholic babies in the 40 years before Vatican II) mention the custom at all, ever. The first I ever heard of it was on this forum.


Thanks you.

For what I have read, Churching was important in France too. Perhaps more in rural areas tha urban areas.

I have never heard myself any testimony on this. But my family is urban for a long time, and we don’t think of thoses topics.
Never too with strangers.


Maybe they’d get a more private blessing to protect their privacy?


I’ve personally never missed Mass for childbirth. Not even when my firstborn was in NICU did I have to miss, because there was Mass right in the hospital. There was actually a whole row of NICU parents and one of the chaplains came and did a special blessing over us after Mass. I’ve never seen this custom practiced and have only ever heard of it on this forum. The last poster who brought it up was Canadian and was wondering if the practice was just done in her diocese. I really don’t see the need for a custom such as this. Women don’t really need to be away from Church for a long period of time anymore. They already have a substantial blessing for babies and new parents and the baby’s Baptism.


There are blessings for mothers that are not “churching”.


I see one interest in this custom of Churching: that the Church cares about the personal situation of the young mother and try to accompagny them.

Perhaps it makes some women feels that God is closer to them, rather than a distant one, with whom there is no need to cooperate. Which is a modern trend.

But it is very personal.


I know of some Hispanic women who have done something similar. When I worked in a parish office with a Hispanic community, sometimes women would come and ask the priest to bless them at the following Sunday Mass because it was around 40 days after their child’s birth. I had not heard of that before.

When my son was born in June, I did miss Mass for two weekends, but that was because I was discharged on a Sunday and then recovering from a C-section. My (Hispanic) husband said he thought I wouldn’t be obligated to leave the apartment anytime within the first 40 days, but I said that was not necessary. Within about 2 weeks postpartum I was going out and going to Mass (although moving a bit more slowly and with my husband’s help).


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