This feast commemorates the Bethlehem children, aged two years and under, who were massacred by Herod the Great in his attempt to eliminate any rival king of the Jews. It speaks also of the unborn children whose lives are taken through abortion. We pray also for healing and forgiveness for all parents for aborted babies. It is also appropriate to pray for today’s children of Bethlehem who suffer as a result of the divisions between Israel and Palestine which are so evidently concrete in the Bethlehem area.

  Where is the sound of hope, the cry of the child that wakes?
 The dull, aching, continued breathing of the mother
 becomes a wail of grief, a weeping for the children who are no more.
 The silent landscape shudders.
 God of mercy, light in darkness, hold gently to Your heart
 the tiny ones we cradle in our prayer whose life was over before it had begun. Amen.