When my first child was born, my husband and I decided to raise our daughter catholic. We were both baptized Catholic and grew up going to church. We both stopped going to church when we were in our teens and decided as parents that maybe this tradition was a good thing to bring back.
Traditionally you baptize your newborn in the Catholic religion, but it’s not uncommon to do it when they turn one. My husband’s parents are more old school and still follow catholic religious traditions. They asked us to baptize our first daughter before I went back to work. So being young first-time parents, we did what we were asked. When you decide to do this through the Catholic church, you must follow some requirements. First, find the church you wish to have your kids baptized in. Meet with a priest or nun and find out what classes they need to attend and fill out the required paperwork from godparents.
When I was young, godparents were chosen to care for kids should something happen to the parents. Now, godparents are supposed to help guide your children through the Catholic faith and support them through their journey. Because of this, the Catholic church encourages younger godparents. We already knew who our main “godparents” would be, and thankfully, they happily accepted and took the needed classes.
Once the date was picked and we all attended the required classes, we had to plan the party. Typically, family and close friends come together for lunch after the ceremony, and it’s a large gathering. It may not sound like a big deal, but for us it was busy and stressful! So, when our second daughter was born, we still wanted to baptize her, but we decided to do it for her first birthday. And because we had kids back-to-back, it was better not to plan two big parties in one year.
2020 was a year of so many changes and challenges. Many things happened which changed my views, especially on religion. I still respect the Catholic faith, but my husband and I didn’t feel we connected in the same way. In short, I didn’t want to raise my children in the church anymore. So, when our son was born in January of 2021, we didn’t really discuss whether he would be baptized. Covid fears were our primary concern, and the idea of gathering at a church was a major red flag.
“Are we going to baptize Liam? Are we having a party?”
When his first birthday approached, I asked my husband, “are we going to baptize Liam? Are we having a party?” And quickly, we both agreed, no. We were still very Covid cautious and didn’t feel safe having a first birthday party, let alone a baptism. I also felt disconnected from the religion and didn’t even pursue having him baptized.
Our parents started to push the question about baptism as we began to feel more open to gatherings. They wanted him to be baptized. He was turning two, so I asked my husband, “Are we doing a baptism? I don’t want to.” But my husband said he did; he wanted to have at least the three of them baptized. And I agreed, but I didn’t want a big party, and he agreed to that. So, I began to research our options.
The White Robed Monks of St. Benedict.
A few friends of ours had a baptism outside to be more covid cautious. So, I reached out and asked how they did it. That’s when I was introduced to The White Robed Monks of St. Benedict. Who are they?
In the traditional spirit of Benedictine hospitality, the Monks offer without question the Word and Sacraments to everyone who requests them. The Monks appreciate that Jesus never really said no to anyone who came to Him, and He had only two commandments: Love God, Love Neighbor (Matt 22:37-40, Jn 15:17).
After reading more about them, I loved the idea. They were not traditional, but they were still Catholic and seemed to fit with the spiritual state that I’m in. Father Ariosto contacted me after I reached out and offered to come to our house to perform the baptism.
This time, the baptism would happen as my husband, and I planned. No classes were required, and no restrictions per se on godparents. This time, it can be a low-key ceremony.
Our Upcoming Party.
Regarding the party, we’ve planned for our parents and godparents to come over for this baptism, serving a smaller lunch afterward and hoping for a relaxing afternoon. Don’t get me wrong; I like parties, but with three kids and all the hustle and bustle, it’s nice to have a low-key event. I feel good that my son will be baptized, and when he is older, we can talk about this experience together. It’s an excellent experience to share because although we didn’t follow exact traditions, we chose our path, and our current beliefs align. That’s the biggest thing I want our children to follow- they may not want to be Catholic or Christian. And that is ok; we only hope they know they have the option.
Religion is a difficult topic. There are so many strong opinions and beliefs. These views can change and are meant to be personal choices. I liked being baptized because it allowed me to know more about the religion and decide whether I wanted to follow it. My parents didn’t raise me to go to church, but they did baptize me, and I wish to do the same with my children. They can choose what’s best for them. There are many different beliefs and opinions of why you should baptize and when. We did what worked for us, and I am thankful we had that choice.