The Easter season always gives me a sense of renewal and rejuvenation. Not only is the Catholic celebration of Jesus’ resurrection a central component of our faith, but the Easter season also brings with it a feeling of new life and a spiritual “fresh start”.
This Easter, our son’s first, brought to mind his Baptism. Almost nine months ago, my husband and I attended a Baptism class at our parish, a few weeks prior to the “big day.” Interestingly, we attended our marriage preparation classes a few years earlier in the exact same room. This felt like a natural progression, to go from engaged couple to married couple to new parents. We were excited to have our son baptized, and felt ready to embark on the next chapter of our lives.
But it wasn’t until we attended the Baptism preparation class that we truly realized the enormous responsibility of raising a Catholic child. As we listened to the Baptism rite being reviewed by one of the parish deacons, it dawned on both of us that raising our son in our faith was never a question for us. We were both raised Catholic, educated in Catholic schools, and married in the Catholic Church. I’ve attended many Baptisms over the years, and being the oldest of four children, I even witnessed my siblings being baptized. It only seemed natural for us to baptize our son as well. After all, in a way, it’s “what we do.”
But our son’s Baptism changed all that. It was less a rite of passage or an expectation, but a conscious choice my husband and I made, a commitment to raising our son in our Catholic faith. When our son had the waters of Baptism poured over his head by the priest (incidentally, a good friend of ours who was newly ordained), it was an incredibly emotional moment. My brother, a seminarian and our son’s Godfather, stood beside us, as did our parents. It was truly a sign of God’s presence among us here on earth.
Our son’s Baptism was a continuation of our own faith journey as Catholics, but more importantly, the initiation of our son’s spiritual life. This beautiful ritual of water, oil, and fire welcomed our baby boy into the kingdom of God to share in the royal priesthood, and made him a member of our own faith community. By choosing to baptize our son, we gave him a gift that will last not only a lifetime, but for all eternity. No matter what direction our son’s life takes him in the future, his Baptism will remain a symbol of God’s unfailing, undying love for him.
During Easter, various new members were welcomed into our parish through the RCIA program. Witnessing these individuals choosing Catholicism as adults made me realize how lucky I was as a child to being raised as a Catholic. Now, as Catholic parents, my husband and I hope to teach our son to love God the way that God loves him, and to give him the gift of a Catholic upbringing. With the right spiritual foundation, he will learn that no matter what happens in life, his faith and trust in the Lord will carry him through.