Just one month ago, we had the great honor and privilege to have our son, John Paul, baptized. We waited in expectant hope for a child for such a long time and having finally welcomed him into our home, we were equally as ready to welcome him home into the Catholic Church. Likewise, having just completed the finalization of our adoption of this sweetest of boys, it was such a blessing to facilitate his adoption as a child of God through baptism. What a wonderful and special occasion it was!
So many of our family members came to join us in celebrating this great event – from Alabama, Boston, Canada, and the Dominican Republic! And those who weren’t able to be with us physically were able to join us via livestream. (Modern life!) Their presence with us meant so very, very much. It was a true testimony to their love and devotion for us and especially for our John Paul. He is such a miracle in our lives, and in the lives of our whole family. We were also blessed to have some of our Emmanuel Community brothers and sisters with us that day, including John and Natalia who graciously accepted the role of godparents for John Paul. It is truly a gift to have Community brothers and sisters who can play such an important and prayerful role for him! And several other close friends joined us as well. For a “private” baptism (meaning, not in a Sunday mass), it was pretty well attended! (The large group picture below is all of our family members that were able to join us.)
Because of this “private” setting, we were able to choose from among several different readings for the baptismal liturgy as well choose our own songs. We began the liturgy with the Emmanuel Community song called “You Gave Us a New Life, Lord” which speaks of the new life, the salvation we have received through the Cross of Christ. Each night at bedtime we have a family prayer time together in which we sing a song of praise, a song to the Holy Spirit, we pray for special intentions, and we consecrate ourselves to Jesus through our Mother Mary. (This is one of John Paul’s favorite parts of the day. He gets so excited about it!) About a week before the baptism, Pablo chose the song, “You Gave Us a New Life, Lord” and as we were singing it, I new that this song needed to be a part of baptismal celebration because this is exactly what’s happening at that time. John Paul was to receive new life in baptism. How beautiful! Two of our siblings read the readings and two of our parish staff/friends blessed us with a truly beautiful “Taste and See” for the Psalm. Our Deacon friend who presided over the baptism gave a beautiful homily and liturgy.
Speaking of the Deacon, we gave him a little surprise the morning of the baptism. Up until that time, we had been planning on a simple water over the head baptism, but as we were preparing a little booklet for the liturgy that morning, we felt that we would like to have a full immersion baptism. So we emailed the Deacon to let him know, hoping that would be okay. It turns out this was his first immersion baptism, and he was a little nervous, but he did a fantastic job and we couldn’t have asked for anything better. (Thankfully, our baptismal font is heated, so it wasn’t a huge shock to the system, though he was still a little shocked!) The image of going down into the water and dying to sin and coming out of the water as a new person is just so beautiful!
Finally, we wanted our closing song to be one of rejoicing as well as one that would honor our Mother Mary, so we chose “Come, Magnify the Lord with Me.” Standing with Mary, we magnified the Lord for this great gift of rebirth, of new life, of acceptance into the Church. Such a gift!
When the liturgy ended, the Deacon approached us and told us that this was the most joyful baptism he’d ever attended. What a beautiful testimony to the love and support of our family and friends, the beautiful gift of faith we have been given, and the joyful praise of the Emmanuel Community. To all of our brothers and sisters who kept us, and John Paul in particular, in your hearts and prayers, we love you so much and we know the power of your prayers were made present with us.
Pablo, Anne, and John Paul