Faye Knippenburg couldn’t imagine a better moment than meeting her brand new granddaughter for the first time. While holding the beautiful baby girl in her arms, Faye knew that she and her family were blessed.
This feeling of peace was even more personified the day following the birth when a chaplain came to Faye’s daughter’s room and read “Blessing of a Newborn Child.”
“I was touched by the blessing for my long-awaited granddaughter,” Faye shares. “The pregnancy was long and scary, so it felt like Jesus was in the room with us during the blessing.”
Jennifer Bionci, one of our chaplains at Mercy Health – St. Joseph Warren Hospital, visited Faye’s family to offer the blessing. Jennifer says that the newborn blessings are a tradition at St. Joe’s.
“We try to reach out regularly to the newborn’s family to offer the blessing and do so with many of the families,” she adds. “As the blessing is offered, we insert the name of the newborn at the beginning and end of the prayer to give it a personal touch.”
Baby blessing began at the hospital several years ago by a volunteer chaplain, Kathleen Lattanzi, who created it based off the writings by the author Joyce Rupp. Each blessing is accompanied with the gift of a cross.
“When the blessing is offered, it is often a beautiful spiritual moment,” Jennifer shares. “The prayer is offered over the newborn while one of the parents is holding the infant, or touching them as they lay in their crib. It is not uncommon for families to shed tears during this time.”
Jennifer’s time as a chaplain has been full of these fulfilling and emotional moments.
“I had one mother who sadly suffered multiple miscarriages and birthed an absolutely perfect and beautiful baby,” Jennifer recalls. “The prayer had a special meaning as she held her miracle in her arms to receive the blessing.”
Jennifer is honored to work as a chaplain and offering blessings to newborn babies during their first few days of life.
“I believe the baby blessing holds an importance and impact as parents are facing the task of bringing a newborn into this uncertain world,” she shares. “These parents are sometimes overwhelmed at the upcoming responsibilities as a parent. The prayer not only decrees the Lord’s favor over the newborn, but also gives hope and comfort to the parents.”
And Faye agrees. She was so full of gratitude for the chaplain’s blessing that she decided to get the blessing inscribed on a wooden plaque to hang in her granddaughter’s room.
“I know she is a child of God and I wanted her know it,” Faye adds.
This holiday season, we are celebrating by spreading the good news! Read more feel-good stories, like this one, that feature our team members, patients and the wonderful communities we are blessed to serve.
Also, learn more about the maternity care services we offer at Mercy Health.