Remembering Babies who have died before or around the time of birth

 “The word of the Lord was addressed to me saying:
‘Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you,
Before you came to birth I consecrated you.’”
(Jeremiah1: 4-5)

Isaiah 49:14-16

“Can a woman forget her baby at the breast,
Feel no pity for the child she has borne.
Even if these were to forget,
I shall not forget you.
Look, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.”


Loving God,
We believe that these children are with you.
We trust in your promise to keep all of us in mind.
In these moments of remembrance, it is love that makes us cry
And it is your healing hand which wipes our tears away
Keep us strong in your love.
We make our prayer through Christ, Our Lord,

LITANY Liodán an Rísigh by Sean Ó Cearbhaill
Response:        Déan trócaire is trua

In the tears of the broken
When no word is spoken
O God of all tokens
Déan trócaire is trua.

In the night of my sorrow
Some hope I will borrow
From the God of tomorrow
Déan trócaire is trua.

In the time of leaving
When an end comes to grieving
Dear Lord of Believing
Déan trócaire is trua.

POEM: by Eavan Boland specially composed for the
National Maternity Hospital remembrance service in November 1994.

Tree of Life

‘A tree on a moonless night
has no sap or colour.

It has no flower and no fruit.
It waits for the sun to find them.
I cannot find you
in this dark hour
dear child
for dawn
to make us clear to one another.

Let the sun
inch above the rooftops.
Let love be the light that shows again
the blossom to the root.’

God of kindness and compassion,
You created these little ones in your own image and likeness,
Bestowing on them the gift of life,
A gift that is transformed but never taken away.
We entrust them to your everlasting love.

One day unite all parents and their children in the peace and joy of your kingdom.
And Comforting God, help us to face each day with trust in your healing and comforting presence.

May the God who never forgets keep you, and those you hold dear,
in the palm of his hand.
May you know his gentleness and compassion,
and may the blessing of Almighty God, the Father,
and the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
come down upon you and remain with you always.

From the book Circle of Care – Liturgies for times of special need,  a book of thoughtful prayers, reflections and liturgies designed to bring some of the healing light of Christ to a range of sensitive pastoral situations ranging from birth to death. Editor Fr Pat O’Donoghue. Available from Veritas Publications.