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HDYDI: Baptism Week {Preparing for the Sacrament}

Welcome to Baptism Week at Team Whitaker!

This is the first post of a five-part series:
Preparing for the Sacrament (What the Sacrament Means)
Choosing Godparents (Finding People to Support Your Child)
+ BOWL SET Giveaway from Clarey Clayworks
Looking Your Best (Dressing the Part for Your Child’s Big Day)
+ $100 PHOTO CREDIT from Renee Blood Photography,
ST. GERARD EARRINGS from Loreto Rosaries and
BAPTISM BONNET AND THREE-PIECE SET + 20% OFF from Blessings Christian Gift Shop in West
Feeding the Party (Making the Celebration Awesome)
+ HOLY WATER FONT by Portraits of Saints
Saying Thanks (Showing Your Appreciation)
+ WOODEN DOLL by St. Luke’s Brush and NOTECARDS by FlorLarios

Baptisms. Hold on a sec while I inhale the chrism oil.

This week, I am SO excited to share what I love about this sacrament, how it can be a special day for your family and why it’s so important. We’ll be chatting about the pretty, the frilly and the logistics of hosting the shindig afterward, too. There’s also some a-mazing giveaways in store. But first, let’s talk about why the Sacrament is just so awesome.

HDYDI, Baptism

Why Baptism?
Going back about 19 years, Scott and I were preparing for marriage and the priest asked me, “What’s your baptism date?” My reply: “Which one, because my most favorite was the third one.” After he picked himself up off the floor from laughing, he said, “The first one, Kathryn. That’s the one that counts.”

I was perplexed because I thought baptisms could be celebrated multiple times. As a Protestant, and one who floated to several churches during my early life, baptisms were a sort of “rite of passage” in every congregation our family belonged. Looking back, though, the preparation I did for two of my early childhood baptisms seemed more akin to the Catholic Sacraments of Eucharist and Confirmation. My first baptism was done as an infant. It does make sense that the first time we are christened/baptized (every church has a different name) is THE time. While you might rededicate your promises to God in the Jordan River, for example, you can’t really be rebaptized. That only happens once. It’s with that in mind that we’ve approached each of our children’s baptisms. In other words, we take baptism pretty seriously at our house.

From the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB):

In his dialogue with Nicodemus, Jesus taught that Baptism was necessary for salvation. “No one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit” (Jn 3:5). After his Resurrection, Jesus met with the eleven Apostles and gave them the commission to preach the Gospel and baptize, telling them, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mk 16:16).

A great resource for the fullness of what Catholics believe regarding baptism can be found via the USCCB.

A Word About Conditional and Emergency Baptisms
Four years ago I knew nothing about emergency baptisms. That changed with our preemie. On day nine, he developed a life-threatening case of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) and stopped breathing. After he was resuscitated, we called his Godfather (also a priest) and told him to come quickly. In Bay 2 of the NICU, we baptized Luke. It was the most peaceful, emotional baptism I’ve ever witnessed. We were all in tears. Happy mixed with the fear of the unknown. The reality is this. Even if we had not baptized Luke and he did not make it out of the NICU, I believe God’s mercy would’ve put him on the fast track to heaven. No doubt. We did end up finishing the rite about a month after Luke’s NICU discharge. Enter happy, smiling photos here. It may not have been the way we originally planned or dreamed, but it was perfect. A celebration of life, as it should be. Adults are typically the ones who receive a conditional baptism. Usually, there is either no documented proof or the adult is unsure if a baptism took place. In that case, the priest conditionally baptizes the person.

Luke, blog_1

An interesting note about this Sacrament. When the life of someone is in danger, even a non-baptized person can baptize, provided that person follows the form and intends to do what the Church does, to bring that person into the fullness of the Church. {A hat tip to Fr. Brian McMaster, Vocations Director for the Diocese of Austin that made sure I wasn’t a heretic and all.}

The Importance of Baptism
Two essential parts of baptism are the pouring of the water over the head of the child and the words: “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” This is when I usually cry. Catholics (and Lutherans, Anglicans and other mainline Protestant churches) believe infants should be baptized since it removes both the guilt and the punishment due to original sin (as in, the sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden). Whatever your church believes, I’m betting they take baptism seriously. It’s the first Sacrament performed on our children and it can set a firm foundation for their faith life.

I’m a self-proclaimed Baptism junkie. I love them. Adore them! There is something so pure and beautiful about the day. Mostly it’s about love. Love of family, love of faith and love of God. It really doesn’t get better than that, y’all.

I also recognize that not everyone places the same importance on baptism as we do. Not everyone see it as a “have-to-do” for their children. If you have a friend or family member that hasn’t baptized their child, ease up on them. Maybe they need to sort through some things, faith-wise, before they make the leap. Maybe there’s a deeper issue that you’re not aware. Maybe, just maybe, your witness of living – not preaching – will lead them to consider it. God’s timeline is almost always different than ours. Trust in His.

Tomorrow, we’ll be chatting about Godparents and you’ll have a chance to participate in the first giveaway. Oh yes, it’s mighty lovely.

16 Comments

  1. Nicole on March 17, 2014 at 8:53 am

    Thank for this primer on Baptism. I am not Catholic, but I have always been drawn to the tradition placed on all the sacraments. I am Lutheran and we follow, as you listed, the belief of baptizing as an infant. I SO loved both of my children’s baptisms. EVERY bit of them. I hold those days as so very special in their young lives. I am looking forward to this week! I am sure there’s bound to be greatness.

    PS – The new profile pic is gorgeous. You are a beautiful mama 🙂

    • Kathryn on March 17, 2014 at 8:55 am

      Lutherans and Catholics share so many traditions and I love that baptism is one of them! And, thank you for your sweet words about the pic – very kind 🙂

  2. Kelly Kaczmarczyk on March 17, 2014 at 9:41 am

    I’m about to turn 24 and I’m being baptized, confirmed, and receiving my first communion this Easter Vigil! Woo hoo!! I can’t WAIT.

    • Laura Ruiz on March 17, 2014 at 10:34 am

      Congratulations Kelly!

      Very happy for you!

    • Kathryn on March 17, 2014 at 1:30 pm

      So awesome, Kelly. So, so awesome.

  3. Melissa on March 17, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    Congrats Kelly! This is just one more reason I love the Easter Vigil!

  4. Meg on March 17, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    Like Luke, I had an emergency baptism in the NICU (after coding at three days old). No fancy dress (for me or for my parents, just scrubs!), no big ceremony, just a small black & white certificate from the hospital chaplain (Memorial City, in Houston, but the building’s been torn down since then, I believe). It was confusing for me as a child to attend my cousins’ “regular” baptisms in church, because I knew I hadn’t had the same thing, but I did enjoy it. I especially liked being up on the alter with my parents for my brother’s baptism!

  5. Baptism Week {Choosing Godparents} on March 18, 2014 at 12:31 am

    […] is the second post of a five-part series: Preparing for the Sacrament (What the Sacrament Means) Choosing Godparents (Finding People to Support Your Child) + BOWL SET […]

  6. Baptism Week {Looking Your Best} on March 19, 2014 at 7:20 am

    […] is the third post of a five-part series: Preparing for the Sacrament (What the Sacrament Means) Choosing Godparents (Finding People to Support Your Child) + BOWL SET […]

  7. Dianna on March 19, 2014 at 7:37 am

    Ooooh …. I’m a crier at Baptisms too …. Well, actually a sober with my kids. I’m overwhelmed with joy, gratitude and scared to death of our responsibilities as a Catholic parent.

    Oh, what a wonderful series, K!

  8. Baptism Week {Feeding the Party} on March 20, 2014 at 12:30 am

    […] is the fourth post of a five-part series: Preparing for the Sacrament (What the Sacrament Means) Choosing Godparents (Finding People to Support Your Child) + BOWL SET […]

  9. Baptism Week {Saying Thanks} on March 21, 2014 at 12:30 am

    […] is the fifth post of a five-part series: Preparing for the Sacrament (What the Sacrament Means) Choosing Godparents (Finding People to Support Your Child) + BOWL SET […]

  10. 100 Resources for Catholic Families on June 21, 2015 at 10:07 pm

    […] Many people have parties following a Baptism, but the majority of the planning needs to be focused on preparing your heart for this amazing Sacrament. […]

  11. Baptismal Traditions (And Giveaway from CheruBalm!) on October 27, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    […] And there’s some great practical tips for your child’s baptism over at my friend Kathryn’s blog, Team Whitaker. […]

  12. […] If you’re looking for party ideas, I’ve got you covered. You can also check out the series on preparing for the sacrament, Godparents, clothes, the party and saying […]

  13. […] winners rejoice! A couple of weeks ago I hosted a super-fun, baby-filled Baptism Week on the blog. And the winners […]

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