Before she was even born, we had a date on the calendar for Azelie’s baptism: April 19, Divine Mercy Sunday. As one of our family’s favorite feast days, it felt like the perfect opportunity to celebrate such a special occasion. Charlie’s baptism remains one of my absolute favorite memories, and I was giddy with excitement about getting to experience that again for Azelie. Both Dave’s and my parents planned to travel here for the occasion, and my best childhood friend and her husband, Angela and Mark, happily agreed to be godparents. My mom had the baptism gown I wore as a baby cleaned. I started pinning ideas for an intimate, spring-inspired brunch celebration to follow the Mass. It was all coming together beautifully…and then, COVID-19 closed churches nationwide.
Like many, many people around the world rescheduling all kinds of events and celebrations, we quickly got to work on plan B. While we were so excited to celebrate with our families within the context of a Mass, we felt strongly that we wanted Azelie baptized as soon as possible. We reached out to our priest for guidance and scheduled a private baptism for that upcoming weekend, with friends standing in (at a social distancing-appropriate distance) as proxy godparents. Days later, our county put out a stay-at-home ordinance, and our plans were canceled once again.
While we looked into how to baptize her ourselves in case of an emergency, as directed by Canon Law, we hoped it wouldn’t come to that. Fast forward a few months as our state began to open up, we contacted our pastor. He confirmed that we could do a private baptism, as long as less than ten people attended. Alleluia! At the end of May, Azelie’s godparents drove down from Virginia with their daughter and we had the sweetest little celebration together. It was so special to finally welcome Azelie into our cherished Catholic faith, and to do so alongside friends after months of quarantine was especially meaningful. I will never forget it! Adding to the sweetness, my mom told me that the 30th anniversary of my own baptism was the following day…so maybe it was meant to be all along :)
Since we didn’t have any additional people in attendance to take pictures, Angela set up her camera on a tripod to record the whole thing. A few screenshots we pulled are below, along with some family photos we snapped outside!
While I didn’t get to put any of the baptism party inspiration I had collected before Azelie was born to good use (TBD on a July name day party instead!), I shared a few meaningful ways to celebrate a baby’s baptism on the Blessed Is She blog a few months ago. I’m glad I had spent the time working on this post before her special day so that I could widen my view of what a beautiful baptism celebration could mean.
On another note, one question I receive quite often is about baptism gift ideas, so I rounded up a few of my favorites below. Most are specifically Catholic, but others would be just as sweet for a child’s baptism into any Christian denomination!