Wednesday, May 7, 2014

A Most Blessed Day

Late last year when Fr Michael Rowe visited us, I was pregnant with Miracles, our 7th child.  Fr Michael is the Latin Mass Chaplain for Perth and comes to Brisbane every September to conduct a Catholic homeschoolers' camp.  Father celebrated four Masses in our home chapel, as he does every year.  In one of our conversations, we expressed to Fr Michael that we wished for him to baptize the baby that we were due to have come February 28 the following year.  Obligingly, he said yes.

However, owing to Our Lord's loving providence, Miracles was born 3 1/2 months early.  On the feastday of the Two Hearts, November 27, when she was one week old, we had asked Fr Terry Hoare, another priest who had become for us a good friend, confessor and spiritual director, to baptize her - because at this stage we were unsure of what was going to happen to her.  But, of course, things have been going very well (thanks to the fervent prayers of family and friends).  Miracles was in Neonatal ICU for 3 whole months, for her very weak and underdeveloped lungs, and stayed in the Special Care Unit for another month before finally getting discharged, after a total of 121 days in hospital.   Having been diagnosed with chronic neonatal lung disease, she was sent home on supplemental oxygen and remains on it 24 hours a day.  Because of this, and for the reason that she was baptized in the hospital (emergency baptism) shortly after birth, we were not in much of a hurry to have her baptized formally in the church, so we felt we would wait a few more months.  Or at least we thought we would, up until a week ago.

Every first Thursday of the month, Fr Terry comes to say Mass and lead a Holy Hour at our chapel, especially for the intention of praying for the poor souls in purgatory.  This started about 3 or four years ago.  However, a week before last, I got a call from Fr, saying that he was in Melbourne for a retreat, and that he would be unable to come over to say the First Thursday Mass for May.  I thanked him for letting us know and told him that we would see him in June. 

Then a few days later I got another call, this time from Peter, an old acquaintance that we got to know over the years through attendance at the Latin Mass. Being a good friend of Fr Michael's, Peter brings Fr over to our chapel every year.  From the other end of the line, Peter informed me that Fr Michael was coming to Brisbane to say a Requiem Mass for Peter's late wife's 3rd death anniversary on Saturday, the 3rd of May.  He said Fr will be in Brisbane late Monday night and that they wanted to ask if Fr could say Mass at our chapel for four days:  Tuesday to Friday.  Not one to refuse any Mass, (especially the Latin Mass!), I readily said yes.  Also during the course of our conversation, Peter passed on Fr's message of well wishes for us and the new baby, perhaps expecting that everything had gone well with the pregnancy.  Upon learning that Miracles was born much earlier than expected and that her present state of health was still not 100%, Peter suggested formal baptism during this visit of Fr Michael's.

After a brief discussion, hubby and I decided to have it done before Fr's flight back to Perth on Saturday afternoon.  So after whirlwind preparations and some quick arrangements done in a matter of days, we had Miracles baptized in a wonderful Traditional Latin Baptismal Rite last May 3 at Our Lady of Victories at 9am. 

Evidently this important event, albeit totally unplanned, proved itself entirely providential.  From the preparations to the special day itself, God's hand in the proceedings was palpable and, I daresay, even almost visible!  And with the whole day consecrated to Our Blessed Mother, being the first Saturday of the beautiful month of May, (which is the month that the church dedicates to Our Lady), everything went a lot better than we could have ever expected, especially under the circumstances. The ceremony was definitely memorable for all that witnessed the event.  With the Rite being so rarely performed in this day and age, people have commented on the beauty and depth of the ceremony itself, especially the traditional prayers.  Personally, it was the most beautiful baptism I have ever been to, and one that will be quite unforgettable for a number of years, not only for me but especially for the whole family!

Gratias tibi ago, O Mater mea!

cover of invitation booklet
page 1

page 2 features Miracles' photo taken at 6 weeks old

page 3 has her photo taken at full term (corrected age)

page 4

back cover of invitation booklet

At the steps leading to the entrance of the church

front and back covers of missalette
inside front and back covers of missalette

Roadrunner holds the bowl of holy salt

Prayers at the threshold of the church

In the Traditional Baptismal Rite, the priest says a total of 7 exorcism prayers at the door of the church before he leads the group into the church.

Blessed salt:  "Maria Leonilla Catherina, receive this salt, learning from it how to relish what is right and good.  may it make your way easy to eternal life.  Amen."

Now in the baptistery, Fr blesses the water in the baptismal font.

Baptismal Water:  "Maria Leonilla Catherina, ego te baptizo in Nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti."

Sacred Chrism:  "May Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus christ, Who has given you new life through water and the Holy Ghost, and forgiven you all your sins, Himself anoint you with saving Chrism in the same Jesus Christ our Lord, that you may have eternal life."


White Garment:  "Take this white garment, and see that you carry it without stain before the judgement seat of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you may have eternal life."

Baptismal Candle:  "Take this burning light and keep true to your baptism throughout a blameless life.  Keep the commandments of God; that when the Lord shall come like a Bridegroom to His marriage feast you, in company with all the saints, may meet Him in the heavenly courts, and there live forever.  Amen."

Blessing and investiture of the Brown Scapular and Miraculous Medal.

Fr Michael takes Miracles from one of her godmothers.. lead our prayer of consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

"..Protect the precious life which has just been received.  Be fore her a real Mother to guard her in your arms when the devil seeks to destroy her spiritual life in your Son, Jesus Christ.  may she love you as Jesus Christ loved you, for our love for you is nothing else but a participation in the love of your Son for you."

"..In the name of this child, Maria Leonilla Catherina, we wish to make today her first prayer to you, her heavenly Mother."

" careful and make sure you are the best example you can be to your children."

..the god parents

Mom:  Where are the other children?

Mom:  Bobbles is still missing!!!  Where has he ran off to now?
Fr Michael graced our celebratory lunch with his presence.

..and she's awake!!

"Safe trip, Fr Michael!  Thank you very much and see you next time!"
Our little angel was baptized and given the names to invoke the guidance and patronage of:  Our Blessed Mother, Mary, St Leonilla (martyr), St Catherine Laboure (November saint), and, like all our other daughters named after St Therese and her sisters, Leonie.