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Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Parang Laundry Lang

I've stood as god mother to my friends and relatives' children over two dozen times but my experience last week at my nephew's christening was an unforgettable one.

Catholic baptism rites are normally dragging with the priest handing out a booklet so the child's parents and godparents know the proper responses as the sacrament is administered. In most parish churches it involves pouring a small amount of water three times on the forehead of the infant. This is followed by a white cloth or a cap being placed over the head of the baby. The usual lighting of candles ensues at the cue of the priest.

When I got to the baptism hall, I frowned at the sight of babies for baptism wearing only very casual clothes - sando and briefs to be exact, while their baptism gowns or clothes were all in hangers carried by the moms. My nephew was in his tan pair of shorts and shirt so I asked my sister why the baby wasn't wearing decent baptismal clothes. She said that was the instructions of the parish office. Weird.

Anyway, the baptism rites began soon after all the candidates arrived (there were 7 that Sunday). I must commend the priest and 3 church assistants who sang, read the Bible and Gospel and organized the venue. The ceremony was not sleep-inducing and I didn't feel like being hurried and the officiating priest is just doing his duty like baptism is just a paint job that needs to be finished. I actually felt part of the baptism ceremony.

After the usual anointing of oil, the lector asked the babies to be stripped down to their birthday suit. Whoa! That's when we realized the 'wisdom' behind the instruction to have them wear their gown after the baptism. After baptism meaning after they were bathed ala laundry way.

There were lots of forced laughter mixed with nervousness from parents and relatives of the babies being baptized. Come to think of it, when we give bath to our babies we're all careful not to pour water over their eyes and noses - but hey Father Whoever just dip the babies into the water as if rinsing a dirty piece of cloth.

During the days of early Christianity, baptism is done near a body of water (normally a river) where the candidate is immersed in the water. Sometimes the candidate kneels down while water is poured over his/her head. Immersion or submersion are the key words - but during that time people who are being baptized are grown ups, probably way beyond their teens, hence, they could be immersed, submerged, thrown, drowned into the river.

Honestly, I like the baptism ceremony at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes (or Lourdes Church for short). If I could bring back the hands of time, perhaps I'd have my children's baptisms there (that is if The Hubby will not object).

For inquiries, you may call the Parish Office at 731-9306, 740-8878.

Kanlaon cor. N. S. Amoranto Ave. (formerly Retiro St.) Sta. Mesa Heights,
Quezon City


Kathleen said...

OMG! Serious? Never heard of this kind of baptism. Ang kulet lang pero ang galing. It depicts what really happens during the old times. :)

Anonymous said...

kawawa naman c euan, in one tab lahat ng kids doon niloblob? eh bka mainom ng baby ung water, nice way of baptism traditional way but isn't good for the baby...nakkainom n ng water at magkaphobia pa bigla kc dapat nidahan2 man lang ni father niloblob ung bata.

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