Celebrating Your Birthday in the Church
Do you celebrate your baptismal anniversary? While I have a copy of my baptismal certificate safely tucked away with other important papers, without looking at it, I can only remember my baptism occurred sometime during the month of August 1976. Given I don’t even remember the exact date, it’s a little hard to make an annual celebration out of it.
But baptism is THE event that establishes our beginning of life in Christ. Remembering it annually as we do for birthdays, wedding anniversaries and the like makes perfect sense. As the Catechism states: “Holy baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit” (No. 1213). “Thus the whole organism of the Christian’s supernatural life has its roots in baptism” (No. 1266).
My daughter’s baptismal anniversary was just last week. She shares this special day with her grandma’s birthday so it’s an easy date to remember. My husband and I wanted to honor her special day, so I set out on a scavenger hunt for some ideas. Here’s what I found.
- Begin a novena for your child on the day of his/her baptismal anniversary. The novena could be to the saint whose feast day falls on the baptismal anniversary, the child’s patron saint if named after one, the saint whose feast day lands on the person’s birthday, or just a saint close to your family.
- Attend Mass, and if possible, ask for the intentions to be in your child’s honor.
- Bring out the keepsakes! Keep the white garment, baptismal candle, prayers, photos, and other symbols of the baptismal ceremony to share with your child in future years. These keepsakes can be brought out to serve as powerful reminders of the ongoing importance of the event.
- Hold a family prayer service celebrating the baptismal anniversary.
For our daughter’s celebration, we ended up praying the “Blessing on the Anniversary of Baptism” found in the book Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers. We set out her baptismal gown, lit her baptismal candle, and used holy water during the blessing. We also enjoyed a nice family dinner of potato soup and Oreo fluff, chosen with love by our daughter.
Does your family celebrate baptismal anniversaries? What are your traditions?
Copyright 2012 Lisa Schmidt