Thursday, January 10, 2013

Baptisms are Swaggerific!

One of the cool things about infant baptism is the free stuff a kid gets. Maybe that's why so many non-practicing Catholics insist on baptizing their kids. The free stuff. Goes with the free ashes and palms.

Here's how a kid can make out like a bandit at baptism.

They get a baptismal gown. This is the white garment that symbolizes purity. The rite says that the parents and godparents are to help the child keep their "dignity unstained". In some churches, the kid also gets a white felt bib-thing:
Where would our children's religious ed be without felt?
We used to give these out here. Until I got here.  Then I just stopped it. I figured that a white garment on the child is good enough...heck..BETTER. No, I really don't know what that is. I know it's supposed to be a garment but it's like the shape of a wrinkled shirt or something. It's more like those heavy duty things the car wash puts on your floor after they shampoo it. Yeah, I'm classy that way. I get my carpet shampooed.

The second bit of swag is the baptismal candle. Again, this is entrusted to the parents and godparents to be "kept burning brightly" to keep the "flame of faith" alive with their child. These can range from the very simple:
To the really overwrought and sentimental:
But not to feel too bad, the Greek Orthodox outdo us in fancy candle dressing:
There's a boat in there.

People ask me after baptisms, "What do we do with this candle?" Some people say they can be lit for the First Communions, Confirmations and wedding days. Some families claim on the child's "baptismal day" they light the candle annually. Our family used them when the power went out.

Now I'm all DIY when it comes to baptizing so I just pour the water on the baby's head with my hands. However, in the old school, there was the use of a shell. Some families even provide the shell for baptizing. And then it's given to the baby as a memento. Babies and their shells.

There are several attempts at explaining the shell. The shell or scallop is is a carry-over from the depictions of John baptizing the Lord. Paintings show him using a shell. The Bible didn't say, however. I think "hands". Really, the man didn't even own a shirt so why would he say, "Oooooh, I can't use my hands to baptize you!"? Crazy.
This Baptism sponsored by Shell

Baptismal gifts follow: little medals or "diaper pins" with a holy image on it (ha..resisted the "HOLY SCATOLOGICAL" joke!), wall plaques, necklaces and other things to remember this great day. Because the baby can't remember the day. So he'll have a felt bib to look on in his later years.

All in all, you live large when you're baptized!

Maybe if we held off on the gift-bestowing until the later sacraments....Matrimony or even Anointing of the Sick, Catholics may hang around longer. I mean, just look at how many of us priests are still sticking around, HOPING we get one of these:
Crozier in a box! Like a pool cue! Bad to the BONE!

The Episcopacy!
A stick!
A hat!
A ring!

A Cathedral!
Bishops get sacramental swag too!