Thursday, March 17, 2011

All prepared for baptism...

Last night, Mike and I attended our parish's required baptism class for Baby CL. The deacon at our parish runs it, and he's super nice, so I wasn't dreading it at all. But I was apprehensive about Mike's reaction, since if it weren't for me, this is not something he would be doing. But he supports me in sacramental preparation for our kids, so I knew it would be ok. We were also married in the Church, which he genuinely enjoyed.

So, we arrive, and find 2 other families there. Both already had born children, I was the only pregnant one there. :) I guess I'm in the minority in my opinion on this one. I would love to schedule the baptism right now, but it's a no go at our parish until Baby CL actually makes their arrival. They'll do it any weekend, so that won't be a problem. I want it sometime in June or July.

Anyway, it was all very low key. The deacon just asked us all some questions about why we wanted our child baptized, and what baptism is. I gave my glowing answer *halo*, but then the deacon also asked Mike why he wanted our children baptized. Mike provided a very kind answer about how he's not a Catholic (technically he is, which he also explained; he's fully initiated with his sacraments, he just doesn't currently believe) but he thinks that baptism is good for our children because it provides them with a faith community that they may choose to remain in as adults and I will provide a good example for them in living out the faith. I was pleased with his response, as was the deacon. :)

One thing I really appreciate about Mike's spiritual outlook is that he's honest in his lack of faith, and about what it would mean for him to return; he truly believes that if you call yourself a Catholic, you should really be a *Catholic* and believe in and engage in all of the teachings of the Church. No Cafeteria Catholicism in our family. :) I really do love that about him. And one thing that is crucial in any interfaith marriage in my opinion ("sort of interfaith" in our situation) is that the other party agrees to marry in the Church (or be properly dispensed) and raise the children Catholic. It's a deal breaker for me otherwise. And the deacon in fact asked Mike if he opposed the baptism, and he answered a firm "NO, not at all." One of the other couples there was also interfaith; the husband was Pentecostal.

Anyway, it was all very interesting and touchy-feely. When the deacon asked me who the central actor in a baptism was, I answered, "Christ," and when Mike was asked, he responded "Believe it or not, that's exactly what I was going to say." He's very cute. :)

We finished up in 45 minutes, and we both agreed that the evening was very pleasant. I just need to get a sponsor letter from my older sister, who will be Godmother, and then schedule the big event post-delivery.

Our parish has a really nice parish center that our class was held in. It was actually a school until last year. Sadly, after being in business for over 100 years, the school closed to due low enrollment. The issue in our area isn't lack of interest in Catholic education (although financial strain certainly plays a part) but the sheer volume of competing Catholic schools. In our small township alone, there were *5* Catholic k-8 schools. There are also 2 Catholic high schools. Last year, 2 were closed, leaving 3 k-8 schools, including the one Hank will attend next year. In the immediately surrounding towns, all within a 5-10 minute driving distance, are 4 others, used to be 5 but 1 closed. Within 20 minutes of driving, you can add at least 3 more, including multiple single-sex and co-ed high schools. It's kind of crazy. But a good kind of crazy. :)

Anyway, our parish was one of the casualties in terms of its school, so now the building is used for their thriving religious education program, as well as a food pantry, numerous parish offices, an in-progress adoration chapel, and space for Vacation Bible School in the summer and a fish fry fundraiser during Lent. It's very nice. I noticed a bunch of other people going in with us who weren't infant baptism bound. It was the RCIA candidates, and we learned that aside from our 3 adult RCIA members, there are also several older children who will be baptized at the Easter Vigil this year. It was wonderful to see.

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