In what was for me, the culmination of four years of waiting on the Lord, on Saturday, November 14, 2015, Efrain Rafael Athanasius Heidmann was finally baptized and became a member of the Body of Christ. It is truly impossible to find the words to express just how wonderful this was! Our entire Heidmann family was able to attend the Saturday Vigil Mass together – a huge blessing; so many Christian and Catholic friends came from all over the valley to witness the event, and many more who have prayed for this day with us were there in spirit.
Having the baptism incorporated into the mass was so enlightening. I invite you, if you have never before attended a Catholic baptism, to read through the Rite for the Baptism of a Child. The entire rite was very moving, but I found these to be especially so:
- the Reception of the child, where the child is presented for baptism at the door of the church, named and blessed with the sign of the cross, and then the parents and godparents with their child join the altar servers, deacon and priest in the processional.
- the Excorcism and annointing of the child with the oil of catechumens.
- the annointing with the oil of chrism, where the celebrant says:
God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has freed you from sin, given you a new birth by water and the Holy Spirit, and welcomed you into his holy people. He now anoints you with the chrism of salvation. As Christ was anointed Priest, Prophet, and King, so may you live always as a member of his body, sharing everlasting life.
Then the celebrant anoints the child on the crown of the head with the sacred chrism, in silence.
- The Ephphetha or Prayer over Ears and Mouth – when the celebrant touches the ears and mouth of the child with his thumb, saying: The Lord Jesus made the deaf hear and the dumb speak. May he soon touch your ears to receive his word, and your mouth to proclaim his faith, to the praise and glory of God the Father.
The entire mass, from being named and blessed at the door of the church and entering with the processional, then sitting in the second row, where Efrain could really for the first time see and focus on what was happening in the sanctuary, and finally the baptism itself, brought into focus the beauty of being brought into – adopted into – God’s Family through this sacrament.
Adding an ethereal beauty to the occasion, Laurent was granted her request to cantor her little brother’s baptism mass. What an incomparable joy to this mama’s soul it was, as her clear, Celtic soprano lifted our hearts in worshipping the Lord.
Finally, we were so blessed by the Ss. Simon and Jude Vincentians to use the SVdP pantry facility for our potluck after-party! What could be more appropriate for a Heidmann shindig! 😀 My family (especially my daughters) and Efrain’s godparents were such a huge help in preparing and setting up the party room and the buffet, so all I had to worry about was getting the littles dressed and arriving at the church on time. It was such a lovely time of fellowship with delicious food and conversation, all set to Megan’s special playlist of Efrain’s favorites for music. I am forever and deeply thankful for all those who were with us in body or spirit as we rejoiced over this new child of God!!