By Jason Lillis
Family Life Coordinator
Baptisms are great celebrations, and it’s my joy here on staff to help families prepare for this Sacrament for children who are infants, up to age 7. Over two-hundred children are welcomed into our faith community each year, both through baptisms during Mass, and communal baptism liturgies. I like to imagine how baptisms celebrated here are similar to – and different from – the baptism of Christ we hear about in today’s Gospel. Though our friars aren’t dressed in camel hair, they are right there to lead the child through the waters of baptism. Though we aren’t at a river, our font does use flowing water and not a still pool – even when there’s a quiet moment during Mass, the font keeps gurgling away. Though a dove doesn’t descend from the rafters, we do anoint them with oil to signify the gift of the Holy Spirit and their baptismal call to be priest, prophet, and king.
Preparation for the sacrament of Baptism at St. Francis of Assisi engages many volunteers, and we invite you to join us in welcoming families with infants and children through one of the volunteer opportunities below:
– We offer a Baptism Preparation program for our parents: Call to Celebrate. These sessions are facilitated by a team of trained volunteers and give parents an opportunity to grow in faith as a family. Volunteers facilitate 2-3 three-hour sessions per year using a combination of a provided script and the sharing of their own stories of Baptism, and can sign up to facilitate with other ministry volunteers. Childcare is provided for free for both volunteers and parents attending the program.
– We also offer a shorter session for parents who have already completed Call to Celebrate. Volunteers for this ministry facilitate 2-3 one-hour sessions per year using a combination of a provided script, a video presentation, and the sharing of their own stories and experiences of their child’s Baptism. Childcare is provided for free for both volunteers and parents attending the program.
– Hospitality ministers are present at our Communal Baptism liturgies, occurring about once each month on a Saturday morning. Volunteers prepare the worship space, welcome parents, and provide directions at 3-4 celebrations per year. The total time commitment for setup and the liturgy is about 2 hours.
If you are interested in learning more about helping with this vibrant and vital ministry here at St. Francis of Assisi, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at 919-847-8205, x244. I look forward to hearing from you!