Amid the growing number of COVID cases and the political upheaval, I feel so blessed to have been able to perform two baptisms last week. One was at St. Peter Claver for Stevie Marie and Adam Starks. The other baptism was at St. Cecilia for Jeffrey and Melanie Norris. I have known both Stevie Marie and Jeffrey since they were both in high school. Stevie Marie was active at St. Peter Clavers through the youth group and her involvement with many parish activities (Martin Luther King Day celebration, Labor Day festival, etc.). Jeffrey was active in my Boy Scout retreats, helping with the youth group, and as a chaperone for many vocations’ trips.
I was blessed to prepare both of them for their marriages, and I performed their marriages here in the county. At both of these baptisms, it hit me that these are young people who have not only come back to the church to dedicate their children to the Lord, but they have continued to practice the faith. The baptisms were not just a checking off the box of things they do to please their devout parents or to feel good. They genuinely want their children to have Jesus in their lives, and they know this is the first of many steps they can do to help their children toward heaven.
Though Covid prevented many family members and friends from attending who ordinarily would have been there, both had family there who largely take their faith very seriously. Before me were grandparents, parents, and children. At one point after the baptism, I saw Stevie Marie holding her daughter, taking a picture with her mom and grandmother. Four generations of strong Catholic women. These two baptisms were so inspiring to me, I felt I needed to write to you about it.
Yes, Covid continues to worsen, and people are struggling with finances, mental health, and family issues. Yet, by God’s grace, these two Christian families gathered to thank the Lord for the gift of new life and to affirm they so believe in the eternal life to come. They were not going to let Covid stop them from Baptizing their children and dedicating them to the Lord. Yes, we all wore masks, used hand sanitizer, and kept social distancing. Pray God, when these two Christian children look at the pictures of these events some years from now, it will look strange. They will know that their parents loved God and them so much nothing was going to stop them from giving their children Jesus in the Sacrament of Baptism. Please pray for these two families. Pray that they may remain faithful and strong. Pray that others may follow their good example of trust, prudence, and hope.
Your brother and father in Christ,
Fr. Scott Woods