Sarah was baptized at Saint Anthony's Catholic Church, just a block from us, on April 21, 11 days after her second birthday and less than a month after her first Easter, so it was a busy and festive month. The baptism took place during the regular 11 am Mass, along with two other babies, but they were both infants. One slept, the other cried. Sarah squirmed, tried to walk around the Church, and even helped out on some of the responses ("I do" during the baptismal vows, and "Amen" at other times). She'd have been baptized sooner but for all the paperwork involved in the adoption, followed by Lent and other things; as it happened we had a rush of festivities in a short time.
The Church wouldn't let us photograph the actual baptism during Mass, so we have before and after pictures but not during. Tam's old friends Tom and Cyndi Gallagher were the godparents; because Tam and I were both on deadlines and had just finished her Easter and three birthday parties, we didn't have a big celebration or invite family in. Since it was done during Mass there would have been limited opportunity to celebrate except for the small gathering with the godparents we held at home after the ceremony.
As it happened, the celebrant of the Mass was the Spanish priest at
the parish, who obviously hadn't done a lot of baptisms in English, since
he had to read the English ceremony pretty carefully. It was a good multicultural
baptism, since the other two babies were in one case Hispanic (or perhaps
Filipino) and in the other, maybe South Indian. Assisting was Deacon Fidel
(with Sarah above), who preached the sermon; we think he's from somewhere
down in the islands, and has one of those lilting Caribbean accents. He
congratulated her on her responses during Mass, in the moment photographed
Sarah was fairly squirmy, as some of these pictures suggest, even when we were up on the altar holding her, but complained less than we feared when the actual water was being poured over her. When she was answering the responses, some people in the congregation were laughing, but everybody clearly thought it was very cute. It probably would have been easier if she'd been a newborn, but this way she may even have some memories of this. She'll certainly have pictures and stories.
We're grateful to the Gallaghers, of course, for their participation,
and to our old friend Elizabeth Lancer, who also attended.
Despite her squirminess, it went pretty well. and she had already been taught that she should be quiet in church (she would say "church" and then put her finger to her lips and go "shh..."). Of course, remembering that lesson was not always easy when there were so many distractions: the choir, the congregation, the other babies, being up on the altar...
Since she'd often shown some problems at making it through church, we were frankly prepared for much worse. It worked out better than expected.
On the other hand, we must confess that staging Easter, three second
birthday parties (just us; daycare; neighborhood kids) and a baptism all
in a one-month timeframe is not something we'd be eager to do again in
For better views of her christening gown and such, see our page with pictures of before and after the ceremony.