Monday, September 21, 2009

MONDAY DIARY - THE YOUNGEST BAPTIZED MEMBER OF THE PARISH

A phone call came into the rectory last Friday from Akron Children’s Hospital. One of our parishioners had a baby, there were complications, and an emergency baptism was needed. I have never had an occasion to perform an emergency baptism before having only taught about it in theory and so it took me a few minutes to collect myself and determine exactly what needed to be taken to the hospital.

A bag was packed and down Exchange I zoomed to the hospital. Kit and priest found a parking place in the parking deck and made then tracks for the information desk for directions to the Infant ICU. Such a room I had only witnessed on television. There were these complicated plastic bubbles over the beds with tiny human beings in them. They children were so amazing and so beautiful even though they had tubes strapped all over them.

My baby would soon need to go in for surgery and so we prepared for the baptism as family began to show up. I was nervous about performing the rites and took a nurse aside. “You know that I will have to touch the child to perform a baptism?” I thought that they were in their incubators because nobody was allowed to touch them for fear of germs, but she assured me it had more to do with keeping her warm and that the baptism could proceed normally. (Shwew! What would we have done?)

Mom sat next to the big contraption and the process of taking the little girl out of her bed and into her mother’s arms took about 20 minutes. Once placed in her mother’s arms we began, “What name do you give your child? And what do you ask of God’s Church for her?”

I must say that the staff was extremely understanding and cooperative. Business moved away behind other closed doors and they supplied us with anything we might need and gave us privacy for the duration of the rite. When it was finished it was like a gentle breeze blew in again ad activity slowly eked back into the room and pictures were taken.

We did not have the trappings of stained glass or glowing candles or marble floors – as nice as those things are – but there was something solemn and beautiful too as we brought one of the smallest of human beings into the fold through baptism.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

And how did the surgery go?

Pat said...

Father, what a great comfort this baptism must have been to the baby's family. I was wondering about babies who die before birth. I have heard about "baptism of desire" for adults who intended to be baptized but died before receiving the sacrament. Since parents make the decision for a living infant, does their "desire" to have had their baby baptized (had the baby lived) come into play in such a situation?

Cheryl said...

Prayers for the family! I hope all went well in surgery and continues to do so!

Michelle said...

May all be well for parents and baby...

Elena said...

Your post brought back memories. In 1999 we had a baby in the NICU and it was a scary time for a few days. I'm so glad you could be there for the baby and parents. I'm sure it was a blessing for everyone there.