A Brightly Burning Light

A Brightly Burning Light

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As most of my extended family do not read this blog, I cross-posted the pictures from yesterday on Facebook. In the comments Jamie said:

Just today I was tidying up my bedroom and I threw out the boxes for the baptismal candles. I saw a rolled up sheet inside describing how to celebrate a baptismal anniversary and thought, “Huh, that’s a nice idea.” Funny to see this picture tonight!

Now I’ll confess that the sheet fell out yesterday when Bella opened the candle box and I was so busy scolding her for grabbing it that I didn’t even look to see what it said. 

Too bad because the ceremony in the brochure is much more complete than my ad hoc reading from the Easter Liturgy. It includes two selected excerpts from commonly used at baptism (Romans 6: 3-5 and Mark 12: 28-34) and suggests a list of others that may be used as well.

It also has a suggested explanation for the leader (mom or dad) to use to introduce the vows of baptism.:

Some time ago [I’d amend this to include the exact number of years.] we presented N . . . . for baptism. By water and the Holy Spirit she received the gift of new life from God, who is love. On our part we have made it our constant care to bring N . . . . up in the practice of the faith. We have tried to see that the divine life which God gave her be kept fromt he poison of sin and might grow always stronger in N . . . . ‘s heart. We share a common faith, the faith of the Church, and it was in this faith N . . . . was baptized. At that time we rejected sin and professed our faith in Christ Jesus. Now that you, N . . . . are older and your faith makes you ready to accept this responsibility, we ask you to renew the vows of your own baptism.

I improvised something along these lines; but this has some nice flourishes that didn’t occur to me. And is, you know, more liturgical.

The insert assumes that parents will continue to make the vows on the child’s behalf for several years: “You must speak the words during the earliest years. Even then the child will consciously or unconsciously sense something special abut the day and the ceremony. Gradually, you would lead your youngster to respond “I do” to the questions posed.”

While it is true that the Church would say that Bella and Sophie are not yet at the age of reason and thus not truly capable of making these vows for themselves, still I think it underestimates their ability to participate. Sophie at two is capable of saying “I do” and thus participates on her own behalf, even if we are also speaking the words for her. Ok, I know that many two year-old don’t have the vocabulary that she does. So maybe for most families the child would begin to respond for himself at age three?

Next year we’ll probably try to follow the ceremony outlined here a little more closely. I also like the idea of inviting the godparents to participate in the family meal and renewal of vows. Of course since my sister is Sophie’s godmother she was present for Sophie’s baptism day; but my nephew Peter, her godfather, was not present. I’m thinking it would be easy enough to invite my brother- and sister-in-law to dinner to celebrate Ben’s and Bella’s baptisms. A nice excuse to get together with family we don’t see often enough.

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