Sunday, October 18, 2009

Article on the Munchkin's Baptism from the Catholic Standard

From the Washington Diocese's newspaper. Notice how there are no quotes from yours truly. I'm pretty sure either my bride or the bishop (or maybe both) were bad-mouthing me to the reporter.

At Baptism, bishop welcomes 12th child into his Catholic Church family

Special to the Standard

Returning to the site where they wed just over 20 years ago, Rob and Cecilia "Sam” entered the historic chapel at Sacred Heart Parish in Bowie to celebrate the Baptism of their 12th child, Kolbe Peter on Oct. 3.

Washington Auxiliary Bishop Martin Holley baptized the baby with assistance from three seminarians - including Joshua , Kolbe's older brother. After the sacrament, the bishop gently lifted the 18-day-old infant and presented him to family members and friends gathered in the chapel. Bishop Holley then announced, "Kolbe Peter, you are now baptized and initiated into the Catholic Church."

Earlier the prelate told participants through the beautiful sacrament of marriage, Kolbe's parents became co-creators with God - and the new baby is a "product of that love," Bishop Holley added.

"Out of the sacrament of marriage is born all the other sacraments," Bishop Holley later said. "The graces from (his parents') marriage continues to be perpetuated in the life of this young boy - who will eventually make a decision of his own life," whether that choice be marriage, a vocation to the religious life or a faithful lay person.

As the eighth of 14 children, Bishop Holley seemed right at home in front of the family. A large family teaches you Gospel truths, Bishop Holley noted. Children learn about God's love through their parents - their first teachers. Later, children are taught how to love their neighbors by learning to love their siblings. "We often refer to the family as the 'domestic church,'" Bishop Holley told the Catholic Standard.

He pointed out the younger children in the family who were gathered around their older siblings and parents watching them intently. "All eyes are looking at their parents," Bishop Holley said. "The graces that come from marriages, are important for society, and so important for the continuation of the Church," Bishop Holley said. "Marriage gives life to all the other sacraments."

Family friend Peter Murphy called the Baptism "a beautiful witness to the faith." Murphy, who also serves as the director of the archdiocesan Office of Family Life, said the family witnesses to God's love and the joy of life in their everyday lives. "They are a large family, but are selfless and generous to others around them. They are the ones helping the community," he added. "That is what family is all about."

Seminarian Daniel Turski said he was happy to be asked to assist the bishop during the Baptism. "It was definitely a look into my future ministry," Turski said. "I love kids." The young student called the family "a witness of authentic happiness." Seminarian Andrew Gronotte also said "it was great to be able to participate in bringing a new member into the Church."

Joshua received special permission to return home for the Baptism. The oldest son in the family, Joshua is currently a seminarian for the Legionaries of Christ. "We went over Baptism in class" he said, but he never thought he would be invited to assist the bishop with his brother's Baptism. Joshua credited his large family with teaching him the skills needed to live in a religious community. "My mom helped a lot - she created a good environment, praying the Rosary, attending daily Mass."

His mother, Sam , who was still recovering from complications after her first C-section delivery, said planning the Baptism gave her something special to look forward to and watching Joshua help out was "icing on the cake."

All of her previous 11 children had been baptized at Sacred Heart in the same chapel where Archbishop John Carroll was elected in 1788 as the first Catholic bishop in the United States. Sam said she began thinking about the possibility of inviting a bishop for the new baby's Baptism several months before his birth. A friend from another diocese suggested the custom of a bishop celebrating the sacrament for the 12th member of a family. So although she had never heard of such a tradition, Sam spoke with her pastor, Msgr. Charles Parry, who helped arrange the event. Bishop Holley "was so gentle, so personable," Sam said.

The mother said her prayers for the newest member of the family are the same as all her children. "Just that he'll grow up loving the Church - loving his family, that he'll love his faith as much as his brothers and sisters do." Sam paused and added, "That's every parent's wish for their children - that they'll always keep the faith."

Kolbe Peter born Sept. 15 joined his excited siblings Alexandria, 19; Joshua, 18; Caleb, 16; Elizabeth, 15; Barbara, 13; Joseph, 11; Robert, 9; Dominic, 7; Mary, 6; Cecilia, 3; and Eric, 2. His older siblings, Caleb and Elizabeth were chosen as to be his godparents.

"My heart was bursting," Sam said, "my favorite thing was having them all together."


The Krazy Girl said...

They totally cut you out!!!:D

Anonymous said...

May Caleb Peter grow to a wise old age, and may he one day win the Nobel Peace Prize. God Bless.

laurazim said...

Love this article--congratlations on the baptism of your newest little one. I totally noticed the absence of Dad's words here, but let's face it--it's the moms who stand around gabbing in the Narthex after Mass, while the dads hold the purses AND chase the toddlers. Obviously, Moms are more practiced to talk to diocesan reporters. :) Just sayin'. Besides--you have your BLOG, for Pete's sake, which has much greater readership, I'm sure!!