A Baptism of their Own
The Gospel’s account of Jesus’ baptism marks a pivotal moment where Jesus begins his public ministry by going into the Jordan River to receive the baptism of repentance and conversion. It’s also quite a mind-boggling image to grasp. There was Jesus—without sin—putting himself next to sinners and expressing His commitment to God.
Many of us do not remember our baptism, but for those who have children of their own, you may recall the sacred moment when the priest poured holy water over your little one’s head—and the promise you gave to God and your child.DOWNLOAD THE BULLETIN
Parishioners, Maggie and Vern Swanson, remember the promise three times over. Their third child, eight-week old, Addalin was just recently baptized. In this week’s article, Maggie opens up about how her relationship with Christ and the Church changed when she became a mother.
Whether your children are still little minions or grown adults with their own children, celebrate the significance of the Baptism of the Lord and be reminded that just like the day at the Jordan River, Jesus is always right beside you.
Danielle Koleniak: What’s motherhood like now with three children?
Maggie Swanson: It’s interesting. We’re outnumbered now. We tag team everything. Usually, my husband will take on the toddlers and I’ll keep Addalin. When I’m by myself, that’s when things get interesting! Annabelle is four. Vernie is two, and Addalin is eight weeks, but they all behave very well.
DK: When you and your husband Vern first became parents how important was it for Annabelle to be baptized?
MS: It was a huge priority. We were living in Michigan at the time. We flew into Fort Myers just so Annabelle could be baptized in our home parish by Father Bob. We knew she would grow up in this parish. As planned, we eventually moved back down to Fort Myers and now are raising three children in the church.
DK: Talk about the significance each time. Addalin was baptized recently.
MS: For me, I truly didn’t understand my faith until I had children. My oldest was born 6 days before Christmas and I can remember reading her “The First Christmas.” As I held her in my arms and read the book, I started to cry because I understood what Mary was going through; except for her, it was much more extreme. She was in a stable, today there is modern medicine. With each child I had, it touched my heart more and more. When you become a parent, you want the absolute best for your kids, but the most important thing you can give them is faith. We want them to develop a strong relationship with God at the very beginning.
DK: How important was it for you to have all siblings present during Addalin’s baptism?
MS: The closest people Addalin will have in her life are her two siblings, especially when guiding her in her faith.
DK: Addalin ‘played’ baby Jesus at this past Christmas Eve Mass. Walk me through what is was like to watch it all play out.
MS: It was emotional. You’re imagining what it was like for Mary and everything she went through that night. I also saw the impact it had in other parishioners as they watched Father Bob place her in the manger. It’s amazing to see how someone so little… who can’t talk, walk, or do much of anything, can have such an impact on so many people. Just as it relates to Jesus, but so much more—when He was a tiny newborn He changed the world.
DK: Reflecting on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, Jesus was without sin, and still chose to be baptized. What significance does this hold to you?
MS: To me, it meant He was just as much a part of the faith as He was the leader of the faith. He put himself on our level to show us that He isn’t just here for us, He is walking alongside us.
DK: As a Catholic, why do you believe it is important to commemorate the day?
MS: It gives us an opportunity each year to renew our faith and commit to our faith again for the coming year. We all make New Year’s resolutions to eating well and working out, but this is a chance for us to reflect on how we can improve our walk in the faith and a being better servant.
It’s important that no matter how old your kids are, whether they are three weeks old, three years old, or 30 years old, that you take the opportunity to tell them about the church and encourage them to be part of the faith. It’s one thing to baptize your child, but the significance is teaching them that faith is so much more than going to church on Sunday morning, it’s living it throughout the week.