Sunday, November 23, 2014

Being Creative With the Sacraments

*** the lighting in my house is poor on a good day.  Compound that with torrential rains and cloudy skies and you get dark photos.  Please excuse the first few of these pictures******

" it was one of the best baptisms I've ever seen"

That comment was made by many parents and guests when between the years 1987 and 2004 a priest at our parish allowed the father of the child to pour the water during baptism.  Had the father also said the words there wouldn't have been a problem, but Canon Law 849 states this practice renders the baptism invalid. " the person pouring the water and the person saying the words must be one and the same, who also has the intention to Baptize".

Twenty six years later my daughter received a phone call followed by a letter stating she would need to be re- baptized and confirmed.  Since she is in the middle of marriage prep she was moved to the top of the list!

Sacraments are outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual graces. Since the beginning of the Church, these rites have been performed with the same ritual all over the world. But when any priest decides to be creative with the rite, it creates havoc, which is what has happened in our parish.  Kind of like letting the father cut the cord at delivery.   Looks good and feels nice, but not really the best thing to do.

So a handful of us gathered this past Saturday ( there are over 200 affected) to begin the process of bestowing these two sacraments again.  It was quiet and holy.  Mary's godparents were present in spirit, but her oldest sister stepped in as the witness. It was an amazing sight to see your daughter you had once held in your arms as water was poured, now lean her own head over the font for another washing of the Holy Spirit. How poised and in control she was of her own choices.

There have been many questions as to why this has to be done again.  After all, the Church states
 " one baptism for all".  We all believe that Mary was baptized as an infant.  We all believe that the Holy Spirit was there and present in the sacrament. But, the Catholic Church does not hold Sacred Scripture as the only authority."Sacred Scripture is the speech of God as it is put down in writing under the breath of the Holy Spirit. Holy Tradition transmits in its entirety the Word of God which has been entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit. It transmits it to the successors of the apostles so that, enlightened by the Spirit of Truth, they may faithfully reserve, expound, and spread it abroad by their preaching."   Because of this, both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and acceptance.

So, in order for the baptism to be valid, both the Spirit and the Tradition must be followed.  Initially, they were not,  Now they have been!

This post is not about theological debate.  Please don't fill the com box with division.  After reading this, maybe you agree or disagree.  Free will allows that.  But maybe you will take away thoughts that lead you to reexamine your own faith. I trust that to God.

I pray for our parish as they navigate through this problem.  Some have chosen to make issues of it and it has created even more sadness for our pastor.  We accepted it with grace.  Another opportunity for the Holy Spirit to bring our family once more before the foot of the cross.


  1. How fortunate your daughter is to have received the graces of the sacraments twice. I completely understand the reason for the law, and saddened that some parishioners are not understanding. I hope they come to understand and willingly come forward and receive the graces from the sacraments. How beautiful to see your daughter embrace her "new" baptism as an adult.

    1. Thank you Barbara ! It was a most precious moment:)

  2. I just love you! What a lovely way to explain our faith and make the most of a sticky situation. Congratulations to your daughter!

  3.'s a double blessing!

  4. May this be a double blessing!!!