VATICAN CITY, October 11 (CNA/EWTN News) .- Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville has personally thanked Pope Benedict XVI for the Vatican's recent approval of a new blessing for the child in the womb.
"Warmly extending the love of Christ to families as they prepare for the birth of their child, this sacred gesture is both a positive and hope-filled way to announce to society the great gift of human life as well as a gracious invitation for the parents to begin steps for the baptism of their child, once born," said Archbishop Kurtz to the Synod of Bishops at the Vatican Oct. 9.
"The Blessing of the Child in the Womb" was approved on Dec. 8 2011 by the Congregation for Divine Worship for use by the Church in the United States.
Archbishop Kurtz told the gathering of bishops from across the globe that the new blessing was "a pastoral moment of first evangelization of the child and new evangelization of the family."
The Kentucky prelate is one of seven American bishops participating in the Vatican summit that runs from Oct. 7 to 28. Together with 255 other "Synod Fathers" they hope to chart the Church's "new evangelization" of the contemporary world.
With the Pope still present, Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller of San Antonio used his address to suggest that the synod "humbly ask the Holy Father to consecrate the world to the Holy Spirit."
"In order that Jesus Christ's salvation may reach the whole world and transform it, that the Church may be renewed and holiness may flourish in it, that we Christians go forward with the New Evangelization, we need a new Pentecost," he said Oct. 9.
Meanwhile Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson called upon the synod to "strongly and unequivocally affirm that justice and charity are at the heart of the work of evangelization."
"Inextricably linked to our preaching of the saving message of the Gospel, our acts of love and justice are a prophetic evangelical call," he said Tuesday.
He proposed that Catholics "will move hearts to the vision of Christ" when they "demonstrate our faith as Catholics with renewed energy for charity and justice at home and all through the world."