Friday, August 3, 2012


There are a few topics that, when brought up with a flock of priests, starts us all going like a field full of agitated geese.  Nobody has answers.  It is one of the great sadnesses of the Church that Jesus did not deal directly and cleverly with some of these issues.  Photography for example.  “Let he who is without pride be the first to have his picture taken,” or, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a great photographic event that always gets the best shot from the best angle.”

So you want pictures?  We have some rules at the parish about pictures taking in general usually to the ire of one or two individuals a year.  They involve such things as not running up and taking a picture as your child is receiving their first Holy Communion or standing outside the confessional to get “that first moment after.”  Church is not picture taking event at which a sacrament occurs; it is rather a sacramental event at which pictures may be taken under certain circumstances.  “But things like this only happen once and I want that money shot!”  I know, I know.  But tell me the last time you went through all of your wedding photos.

Just the same the rule is, whether one is hiring a photographer for a baptism (really, save the money and put it toward their Catholic grade school education) or taking them yourself, ask the priest what the policy of the parish is so no one need be embarrassed.  At St. Sebastian the general rule for baptism is “don’t get between me, the water and the forehead.”  Any person, professional or otherwise, should do their job as unobtrusively as possible. 

Professionals seem to have taken to wearing all black thinking that they are in a Japanese puppet play where we are to suspend disbelief and pretend that they are not there.  IT DOESN’T WORK.  Especially when black means a black T-shirt.  Photographers should dress like the guests.


Now for the delicate subject of the offering.  It is customary to give an offering at baptism.  As Mrs. Fenner wrote, “The offering is made by the child’s parent.  It is placed in a plain white envelope with the parent’s calling card and is handed unobtrusively to the priest before the group leaves the church.”  Interestingly this is still how I find it done at this parish though occasionally it is also accompanied by a note if the parents have something special to say.

The offering is not payment for the sacrament.  It is a token of appreciation and acknowledgement of the pastoral care given by the priest.  It is a custom, not a law.  If one cannot afford it, it is not expected.  A note of thanks however is always just good manners especially if one does not have this means.

If you are giving a monetary gift however there is one thing you should know.  If you write on the envelope or address the check or say to the priest, “This is for Saint Soandso,” by canon law that gift goes into the general fund for the parish.  You must make the check out to, say, or in some way indicate that the gift is for the priest if it is your desire for him to have it.


Here is a back note from last week concerning what babies are to wear at baptism.  It’s great information.

Dear Father Valencheck,

“What little I know of children's historic clothing includes that up to the early 1900's boys and girls clothing weren't differentiated much and all wore white gowns and had long hair. My theory is it was because you can just wash white in hot water and you're good to go. I don't know if it was at school age that colors and haircuts were introduced. Interestingly, at that time pink was the boy color and blue was the girl color, which explains all those pictures of the Child Jesus wearing pink.

“With regard to taffeta, satin and chiffon, there are two differences between these and the other fabrics mentioned; first, taffeta and satin are stiff, second, all three are fabrics associated with evening clothes rather than day clothes. They also wouldn't be so soft and comfortable as the other fabrics mentioned.”

Thanks Nan!

We will, absolutely positively, finish next week with the after events of infant baptism.


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Anonymous said...

How about house-blessing? Should we give the priest an offering after he bless our house?Would he be offended ?
Thank you for your service to the church.

φωτογράφηση βάπτισης said...

Photography is mostly an art rather than a job. I think in nowadays these people who doing their job as well as they doing their hobbies are very lucky.