Thursday, August 12, 2010

Baptism: A Call to Commitment

The following reflection from Fr. Henri Nouwen is a nice reminder of how our baptismal calls invite a commitment and follow through to live love and faith in community, in relationships -- but, first and foremost, within ourselves. How are we committed to our own hearts? Our own minds? Our own gifts? How do we honor these things that God/ Love/ Creator has given us? How does an act of honoring the Divine within become an external expression, honoring the Divine without? When we recognize our sacred centers, how can we not see the sacred center of each and every other being? And when we are doing that, how can we avoid peace, reconciliation, transformation of any woeful circumstances? Our baptisms into this larger earth community, into this larger church of all creation, invite us to continually find love and beauty in all that surrounds us, and seek ways to honor and be sanctified to one another. .... This is my prayer today, as I consider baptism, parenting, my role and work within community..

In Peace, Blessings,

Baptism, a Call to Commitment

Baptism as a way to the freedom of the children of God and as a way to a life in community calls for a personal commitment. There is nothing magical or automatic about this sacrament. Having water poured over us while someone says, "I baptise you in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit," has lasting significance when we are willing to claim and reclaim in all possible ways the spiritual truth of who we are as baptised people.
In this sense baptism is a call to parents of baptised children and to the baptised themselves to choose constantly for the light in the midst of a dark world and for life in the midst of a death-harbouring society. - Fr. Henri Nouwen

The Baptism of Marguerite Marie Kiemde: Annointing Love "Priest, Prophet, King!"

Some days being Catholic is tough. Claiming membership in a larger faith community that's hard on women, diminishes gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, and has a whole bunch of scandal stemming from a secretive, hierarchical male-dominated structure where sex abuse of children has taken place: Ah! Please! It makes me want to run. But this is my church. This is the community of humans and traditions and rituals and beliefs I was born into that I find, at its core, is the best Love-Mystery-Truth-Transformation-thing going. So I stay in the church with my husband, and I work to create and see realized the kind of faith community that I want to be part of.

Enter: Marguerite Marie Kiemde's Baptism! On Sunday, August 8, 2010, François, big sister Gabby and I, along with our larger catholic faith community at the Church of St. Philips in North Minneapolis, welcomed our baby girl into this fold. And it was a blessed and inspiring experience -- reaffirming my own baptismal call to love and live within a human community, consciously seeing the Divine Light of Love within all.

What follows are photos taken by our dear friends Brian Mogren and Michael Benham. We hope they convey a fraction of the Spirit and promise that we experienced on Sunday, and that the captions might hint at what were the most inspiring elements of the day for me.

Melissa Borgmann-Kiemde and Family
Presiding guest priest number one from the University of St. Thomas
(There were four priests on the alter this day.
Perhaps to top the three presiding at our wedding? Or to witness Ms. Maggie's welcoming?
Blessings! )

Pre-service picture snapping

Baby K gets shy?

Our Kiemde Clan: François, Melissa, Marguerite, Gabriela

Putting on the baptismal bonnet

Tuning into the baptismal rite

Fr. Jules Omba Omalanga begins the ritual

The St. Philip's Kids Choir, lead by Nadege Ouevi, sings to welcome in Marguerite Marie

Getting her rest in before the big moment
(And completing a bowel movement?
This child will go to baptism in the fullness of her blessed humanity!
God loves us in all of our stinkiness. :-))

Tracing the sign of the cross

I cannot be any more pleased to hold this child and participate in this liturgy.

How beautiful are these young people?
A key part of this service for me centers around hearing the voices of children singing.
A choir that Marguerite will be part of - someday!

Annointed "Priest, Prophet and King!" Yes!
Hope in our church.
(Can you imagine our daughter's future?
Your own in any faith community?)

In the arms of Godmother Marianna Toth


In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit!

Embracing the Light!
(A favorite moment in the service,
when François puts the candle in our littlest girl's hands,
and she won't let go.)

What do they see? So many precious eyes!
Including photographer Michael Benham

Singing "Wade in the Water."

Melissa's spiritual director, Sr. Mary Margaret, VHM
(Another honorary Godmother.)

Dear friend, Vis Companion, photographer, Brian Mogren

Toni and Geert Bennaars-Mawanda

From Left to Right: Godfather Zac Willette, Godmother Marianna Toth, Gabby Kiemde, François Kiemde, Melissa and daughter Marguerite Kiemde

Welcomed into this larger faith family of priests, prophets, kings, queens, and lots of nuns!
Left to Right: Marianna, Zac, Gabby, François, Melissa and Maggie, Sr. Mary Frances, VHM; Sr. Jill Underdahl, CSJ; Sr. Joanna O'Meara, VHM; Sr. Mary Margaret, VHM; Sr. Mary Virginia, VHM; Sr. Karen, VHM; and Sr. Jean.

And again: In full color!
Left to Right: Marianna, Zac, Gabby, François, Melissa and Maggie, Sr. Mary Frances, VHM; Sr. Jill Underdahl, CSJ; Sr. Joanna O'Meara, VHM; Sr. Mary Margaret, VHM; Sr. Mary Virginia, VHM; Sr. Karen, VHM; and Sr. Jean

Another new member of the catholic community at St. Philip's:
Nina Nakagaki!

Maggie recognizes someone with her kind of humor: a goofy Michael Benham.

Embraced and smiling by her Visitation Sister, Mary Virginia

Singing and faith ensemble sisters Toni, Ann, Melissa with babies Geert and Maggie

New moms in the community: Can we trace the cultural lines present in this photograph?
There's a child here born in Guatemala; another of Ugandan/Kenyan/Dutch descent; one hailing from Asian-Nebraskan parents; and finally a West African-European-Midwestern American infant.