Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Emily's Baptism

I’m totally behind on baby-blogging. They’ve been growing and aging and hitting milestones and, while their new talents haven’t passed me by, life’s been its usual crazy and there’s not been much writing time. But before I get to all that, I should cover off Emily’s baptism.

It took seemingly forever to get Emily baptised. First there were the non-stop scheduling conflicts between the mandatory baptism course at St Etheldreda’s and Thesis Madness. Then, when that was finally resolved, there was the date – late January in the hopes that David’s sister Sarah, Emily’s Godmother, would be able to join us (she wasn’t, although that was probably just as well since we were moving five days after the baptism so life was pretty hectic). Emily ended up being 5.5 months old before we finally had it done. I think this is a new family record for delayed infant baptism/dedications.

This year, I knew what to expect with a Catholic Baptism celebration, so I actually got really excited about it beforehand (very rare for me). I knew we couldn’t expect a big turnout of friends, since most of our close friends had moved away from the area, and we were relatively new at our Parish so I didn’t expect it to have the same family-feel that Walter’s Baptism did, but I wanted to ensure we had some special memories made for our little Em.

Aside from the sacrament & commitment to raise the children in our faith, my biggest gift to my babies on their Baptism day is their gown. Finding a gown for Emily was a huge challenge, because I want something minimalist and affordable, which is pretty darn hard when these celebrations seem to be the baby version of a wedding in the commercial world! I ended up hitting up Waterside Antique's in Ely, where I found a Victorian baby’s gown. It was in pretty good condition and, best of all, it was plain & gave me ample space for embroidery. It didn’t take me long to figure out a design, centered around the August birth flower (the gladiola) and with a little discipline in ensuring I didn’t sit idle while watching a movie in the evening, I managed to finish it on time. My mum contributed to the outfit by knitting a pair of little slippers for Emily to wear, with buttons from one of my old baby outfits.

Our priest, Fr Tony, paid us a personal visit to discuss the Baptism details. I loved this. It was nice to be able to welcome him into our home and discuss the few details in a relaxed setting. I was surprised to learn that he automatically plans for baptisms outside the Mass, just as I was surprised to see that this is what friends have been doing recently. When he found out that we were hoping, and expecting, that Emily’s baptism would occur during the Mass he was really excited. I’m not sure why practicing Catholics have it outside the Mass, so perhaps someone can fill me in. I have always felt that the baptism/dedication/blessing is something to be done with the support of the church community, so having something more private seems really foreign to me.

Emily’s Baptism day was lovely. Looking back at the pictures, I can see how exhausted we were, but I didn’t feel it on the day. We felt so blessed that Emily’s Godfather, Rob, and his lovely wife Emma were able to join us for the day as Emma was pretty near the end of her pregnancy and I remember how exhausted the thought of any travel made me when I was at that stage. After Mass they came back to our place for a small lunch celebration (menu: wild rice soup, buns, ham, cheese, homemade sausage rolls, wine, fizzy juice, cake). We had such a lovely time celebrating with our dear friends, and were glad that we got to see them so close to our leaving Cambridgeshire.

One proud Godfather
Emma, Rob, Emily, Walter, David, & Me (and St Etheldreda's hand in the reliquary behind us)
Learning from my mistakes -- this time, buy a cake and add writing in chocolate letters. So much easier than baking and decorating it myself!
And, of course, the celebration of the Sacrament was lovely and stamped with Emily’s own feisty personality – she insisted on blowing raspberries through most of the homily & prayers. We had people come up after Mass to give her blessings & congratulate our family. It was such a great reminder of how we are part of a community of faith, no matter how long or short are stay at a particular parish is.

Blessing with Chrism oil
Her beautiful Baptismal candle
fun with daddy!
Left to her own devices -- kicking her way free!


  1. This brings back memories of such a lovely day! I love that last picture, what a sweetie.

    We're currently planning Callum's baptism, and we are having a separate service purely because we're lucky that enough of our friends and family will be coming that it wouldn't be practical to have it during mass (you remember how busy term-time mass at Fisher House can be!).

    1. That makes sense. Some of the one's I've seen outside of Mass have looked really small (in the pictures). Just as well to not have to write on your invitations "please come at least 45 minutes early to ensure a seat"!

      Let us know the day and we'll be sure to say some prayers for your sweet Callum.

    2. Thanks, that's very sweet of you! We're all sad that you won't be here to share it with us - it will be on Saturday the 24th of May.

  2. I've been excited thinking about our baby's baptism before he even existed! I also want the ceremony to be during the Mass, both because our families probably won't be here and also because we do feel very much a part of our parish community and want to celebrate with those people we don't necessarily feel close enough to invite to a private ceremony.

    So happy to read this entry and see the pics! Wish we could have been there!

    1. I think I feel particularly awkward about inviting people to a private ceremony, unless I'm super-close to them, because infant baptisms are so verboten to Anabaptists. I like celebrating with the whole Parish community because it's a little closer to what I'm used to in an Anabaptist baby dedication, plus I think it's important to experience the Sacraments as a community.

      Wish you could've been there too. One day!