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Ask the Register: when a baby dies...

Q. If a baptized baby dies, is there a need to pray a parish/communal rosary for that child before his/her funeral Mass?

A. Great question. I do not know if there is any Church teaching on this.

My response would be that there would not be a “need” for a rosary because a baptized infant is incapable of sinning. That is, if the rosary is an intercessory prayer asking God for the forgiveness/atonement of any sins that a person may have committed, then it would appear that there is not a “need” for praying a rosary for an infant, because an infant is incapable of sinning.

Now, a family most likely would want to gather their loved ones and the parish community to pray with/for them in their grief. The rosary in the context of the Catholic Vigil for the Deceased would be a wonderful context in which to pray for that child and to console the family.

The loss of a child, in any situation, is an incredibly difficult reality to deal with. In praying the rosary at that time for the purpose of supporting the grieving family with supplications to the Lord, I believe that would give a family great consolation and remind us that Mary herself lost a child – Jesus. She certainly understands grief and the need for love and togetherness and brings our prayers to her Son at such times.

This question was answered by a priest of the Diocese of Lincoln. Write to Ask the Register using our online form, or write to 3700 Sheridan Blvd., Suite 10, Lincoln NE 68506-6100. All questions are subject to editing. Editors decide which questions to publish. Personal questions cannot be answered. People with such questions are urged to take them to their nearest Catholic priest.

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