Friday, June 15, 2012

My baptism

Fr. Vandergaast and me, 15 June 1947

Sixty-five years ago today I was baptized in St. Raphael’s parish in Philadelphia, in the area called “The Meadows.” 

Dad and Mom - John S. and Eleanor Donaghy

A few years ago I unexpectedly came across several photos from the day of my baptism. It gives me great joy to share them. 

Godparents: Aunt Sis Rechner and Uncle George Barrar

It gives me a sense of the community of faith of which I am a part – especially since it includes my paternal grandmother, Nana, who was not a Catholic but gave me a sense of the importance of the Bible.

Mom-Mom Barrar and Nana Donaghy

Our baptism is a welcoming into a community, into the Body of Christ. After we are baptized in the Catholic rite, we are anointed with chrism, reminding us that we share in Christ who is prophet, priest, and king.

We receive a call to be prophets, those who speak in the name of God, showing forth God’s reign in this world, announcing the Good News of Christ and denouncing all that prevents us from living as the children of God.

We receive a call to be priests, making holy the world around us, offering it all to God – returning to God the gifts given us in God’s loving providential care for us.

We receive a call to be kings – but not in the way of this world. We are called to be servants, giving ourselves in love for others.

Recalling my baptism, may I renew my commitment to live as a child of God, with the mission of being prophet, priest, and servant-king.

Enrique Dussel, Latin American church historian and philosopher, has an interesting remark about Baptism in  A History of the Latin American Church, page 248, which merits pondering on my baptism day:
No spiritual gift is received privately. Baptism, truthfully, is not received; rather, it is by baptism that we are received into the Church, in order to fulfill the prophetic mission of saving the world.


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