Baptism & Christening
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Baptism & Christening
We are incredibly honored and have been asked to be godparents for one of my best
friend's new baby. He will be baptized in a Methodist Church, of which I know little
about (i'm more accustomed to Catholic traditions). My husband and I are agnostic,
which makes a gift selection a little more challenging...any gift ideas would be
If the parents who asked you to be godparents were very
concerned about religion, they probably would not have asked
agnostics. Most people these days are happy just to know
someone whom they trust and feel confident about, in regards to
how that person would raise their children. (Shared values,
morals, etc.) That does not mean that they expect you to become
Methodists or even to know much about religion. They mainly
just want to think their kids would be raised happy and
healthy. So I wouldn't stress about a religious-themed gift.
How about something that reflects the nature of the
relationship they are asking you to develop, like a scrap book
or photo album of all your interactions for the 1st year of the
Honestly? A $500 check for babysitting was the best gift we
recieved as new parents. We could've paid for a babysitter on our
own, of course, but the encouragement to take a date night just
for us in the midst of being so consumed with our baby was
invaluable. I wouldn't think you'd need to get anything religious
for the baby or parents--a gift from the heart is most important.
My agnostic DH and I recently found ourselves shopping for a
Catholic baptism gift. After some debate, we settled on a
donation to Defenders of Wildlife and choose an animal to
''sponsor.'' Our card wove together the animal's traits and a wish
for the child's spiritual growth -- We nature lovers felt
comfortable giving this and the parents received our spiritual
blessing in stride.
The nicest thing I can remember my daughter receiving from her
Godparents was sort of an extended life-long standing invitation.
As she grew old enough, she was treated to those special times
like Tea at the Ritz and camping trips by herself with her
Godparents. It made her feel special and connected with two
lovely people. In addition, now that they are in their early
80's they have mentioned that she will be one of their beneficiaries.
Hi everyone. I have a boy that just turned 5 but we never
baptized him. I am culturally Catholic but do not believe in the
Catholic church and dislike the idea of the dogmas and the fact
that certain people are supposed to have Godís truth. I really do
not believe in that. However, I am very spiritual and I do believe
in God. So, I thought that since culturally I am very Catholic I
would baptize our son in a Catholic church and then, as he grows
up, maybe move to more of a non-denominational church or something
like that; Iím not clear yet how to do that. We live in Moraga
but have a Berkeley mentality combined with a European culture
(Iím not from the US originally)Ö heheÖ sounds funny. Anyway, Iím
looking for a Catholic church with old European arquitecture (Iím
an art lover) that baptizes older children. And thatís where my
next question comes in: are there baptisms just for groups of
older kids? I know my 5 year-old boy who thinks heís a really big
boy would be mortified to be surrounded by babies! I know he would refuse to
go through the ceremony. As you can see, this baptism would have
the spiritual and cultural components combined; both very
important to me. Any non-judgmental recommendations will be
Looking for the right church.
The Unitarian Universalist church (Walnut Creek, Oakland,
Kensington) could probably work with you on creating a ceremony
to your satisfaction. For a while, the Oakland UU church
(uuoakland.org) was housed in a Baptist building and I
considered an adult baptismal ritual myself.
Love the UU embrace of multiple traditions
I don't have the answer to your question about an interesting
architectural church, etc. but I do have an idea; neither of our
daughters were baptized with a group of babies. We had a private
baptism for each on a Sunday afternoon. It felt looser and more
personal and, therefore, might fit all your cultural/spiritual
needs. Just a thought.
You sound similar to me and my decision to baptise my daughter
in the Catholic Church. Both my husband and I were raised
Catholic, but were non-practising when we had our daughter. He
did not want to have her baptised but how could I NOT give our
daughter the same culture as both our families? She now attends
a Catholic High School and is very glad that she was baptised
and attended enough CCD for 1st Holy Communion. She struggled
over wheather she would be Confirmed this year, she is not sure
what she really believes... I gave her the choice and reminded
her that God and religion are always a personal choice but that
the ritual with friends she has grown up with and who are part
of her extended cultural family is always a good thing. Father
Leo is a warm & wonderful priest with so much love and
compassion. He has even impressed my husband who has ''issues''
with the Catholic church.
Fr. Leo at Corpus Christi Catholic Church on Park Blvd. just
below Hwy 13.
Happy Cafeteria Catholic
my husband is catholic and i am not. he has been going to mass
regularly since our son was born a year ago and never pressures me to
go. i grew up in sf in a bi-racial home (japanese and white) where my
mom's buddhist spirtual practice definitely influenced us. my
husband's family has asked about baptizing our kid and he keeps
telling them we are still talking about it.
we've had several respectful discussions that go in circles--always
ends with, ''let's keep talking about it''
i really don't feel comfortable baptizing my child - just don't
embrace or appreciate the catholic religion like my husband does. plus
can't my kids decide if they want to be catholic or not when they get
older? - my husband feels that it's not a big deal that's it's more
tradition than anything else. he thinks it's a positive thing.
ugggggghhhhh! i don't know what to do.
i would love to hear from folks who have experienced this or have some
words of wisdom.
This is a very personal decision, and no matter what people tell you, in
the end, it is
what you feel is best for you, your husband, and your family.
That being said, I am also not catholic, but married to a catholic. It
to my husband to baptize her, perhaps out of tradition, or faith, or
both. Because it
was important to him, we did baptize our daughter catholic, when she was
months old. There was a big party at his mother's house, and so on and
so forth. I
do not think of her as catholic. Rather, I tell myself that by
baptizing her, we were
saying that we believe in a higher being or spirit, or even an
inner-spirit, and we
celebrated the power of that. It was important to my husband, and I was
him. It is a fun story to tell our daughter, and show her the pictures,
and she kind
of gets a kick out of it (she is eleven now).
Can you do two ceremonies, one celebrating his beliefs and one
Good luck! I am sure there are many people in your position!
Baptize or not? Your children should be baptized, as it means
much to your husband and the family you chose to marry into.
Your children will still decide at some age to practice
Catholism, but they will know the religion from within, with
shared experiences and understanding from their father. But I
suspect you may be avoiding asking the real question bothering
you, which may be: Religious or not? You may fear that if your
children are baptized, they may go to Church with your husband,
eventually identifying the famiy as Catholic, following a
tradition you never had. I can only suggest to support your
husband's interest, and keep an open mind, to see how the
family faith and practice evolve over the years. It's all
Catholics believe in infant baptism, as do several other
Christian denominations. Baptizing an infant is very important
to a believing Catholic parent, and I would recommend that you
accept your husband's wishes and allow the child to be
baptized. When the child grows up, he/she can make a conscious
decision as to whether to accept Catholicism as a faith, follow
a different religion, or accept none.
Robert A. Fink, M. D. firstname.lastname@example.org
One thing you might consider is that in Catholic tradition, ANYONE can
baptize a child. You don't have to have a priest do it. I actually
that's kind of wonderful, because to me it expresses the sacredness of
the child and the participation of the community in nurturing that
Of course, maybe your husband is mostly wishing for a connection with
the church and that might not suit you, but I'm wondering if you might
able to create a baptism/celebration that would incorporate elements
from both your traditions and invite people who are close to you to
attend as witnesses and/or participants. I once went to a very lovely
baptism at St. Joseph the Worker in Berkeley that seemed to combine
both traditional and progressive ideas. I personally value these
and so I come with that bias (even though I'm a Quaker and Quakers do
things very, very simply), but this might be an opportunity to do
something very loving and creative for your child. Best wishes.
Hello: thank you for writing in. It's good that you're taking
this question seriously, and that you and your husband have
respectful communication about it. Still, it's probably hard to
have an ongoing difference of opinion about what to do.
I'm Catholic and belong to a very liberal parish which accepts
many different views of Catholicism and is very tolerant of those
who choose not to be Catholic. Perhaps it might be helpful to you
to talk with someone who has had a lot of experience baptizing
couples in which one partner is Catholic and the other is not.
You might consider emailing Al Moser ('Father Al') at the Newman
Center at Cal Berkeley. He is extremely gentle, respectful, and
non-preachy. He might be able to help you arrive at the right
decision for both of you, and allow you to have a conversation
which might clarify exactly why your husband prefers that the
child be baptized while you do not. His contact info:
It's also possible that your husband could accept having a
'blessing' for your child which could be more acceptable for you
than a baptism. I'm really not sure. But it's definitely worth
talking about and working through.
My very best wishes to you both, and to your child.
a Catholic friend
Yes, you could wait, but really, would it be so awful? It seems that it
would make your
husband and your inlaws happy. And your child could still decide
whether or not to
become Catholic when older. No one can force Catholicism just because
gets baptised. Still, if it's something you'd feel really bad about
then maybe you could
just ask them all to wait until you or your child decide it's time -if
at all. (Full-
disclosure: Both my husband & I are Catholic and even we have some huge
the church and it's policies/politics. However, we agree with what we
feel are the
important things. We didn't believe that we had to buy into the
church's every practice
to have our children baptised.)
Keeping the options open
I can totally relate. My situation is a little different. I'm
an atheist, my husband is agnostic, and we're not raising our
kids with any religion. However, my mom and his mom are devout
Catholics, as is my sister, and his sibligs are born-again
christians. We had our kids baptized and here's why.
I had a daughter from my first marriage and we did not baptize
her, despite pressure from my mom. I felt really strongly about
this being my decision and not my mom's. But then my daughter
was diagnosed with cancer, and as her illness progressed I
could see it was really bothering my mother that she wasn't
baptized. As much as I thought, and still think, that this is
completley ridiculous, somehow in hindsight my philosophical
viewpoint isn't as important anymore. It's a few drops of water
and some words, and it was something that would have brought
enormous comfort to my mother when my daughter died.
So when I remarried and had the children I have now, we had
them baptized in the Catholic church. It's hard to find a
church that will do the baptism for non-members (not to mention
non-believers, which we in fact didn't mention!) but my mom and
sister were able to pull some strings at the church that is
part of my sister's kids Catholic school, so we made a trip
down to my hometown and got it done.
I liked parts of it. I liked the baptismal clothing and the
fact that the entire family gathered to honor my babies. We
have nice photos from that day with the whole family dressed
up. My young neices and nephews got to be part of the ceremony
because it was at their school, and they were very proud.
My kids don't go to church or CCD now. That will probably be
one of their only church experiences. But my mom's happy, my
husband's mom is overjoyed, and my sister is more or less off
Hope this helps. Sorry to tell you a hard story, but from the
viewpoint of Catholics, that is the whole point.
Yes, your child can choose whether to be Catholic--it is called
confirmation and it is the sacrament received as an adult
(teenager) when one accepts the Catholic Church and all her
teachings for themselves... Baptism offers one membership in the
Catholic Church, but you get to accept it or decline it as an
adult with Confirmation...
Please consider your husband's wishes. As a Catholic parent
married to a non-catholic, I couldn't imagine what it would feel
like if my partner barred me from sharing my culture with my
children in this most fundamental way. And this is what he is
doing--sharing his culture with your/his child.
I would just ask that whichever community the child is baptized,
you should go to mass there and make sure you feel comfortable
with the people.
All the criticism of the Church aside, just think of it as giving
your child another community to be a loved part of--where ever
you go the Church is there. San Francisco isn't named after a
great Catholic Saint for nothing...
It seems that if you proactively agree to the baptism it would
mean a lot to your husband and his family. And, I really don't
think that baptizing your child is too big of a deal if it is a
symbolic tradition of sorts, so I'd say why not? It doesn't
mean that your child can't choose his path down the road. And,
it might be a special connection to his dad. (I wanted to
mention that we're not religous and neither of my kids were
baptized, but I probably would have if I had a reason).
Well, this is a complex issue and I hear your concerns, but
here's the bottom line: It doesn't harm your child, spiritually
or physically, to be baptized. He's not even going to be aware of
it. On the other hand, it apparently means the world to your
husband's family, because Catholics are taught that an unbaptized
baby can't go to Heaven. So to them, it's deadly important.
I had a Catholic boyfriend (I'm Jewish) and was with him at
church one Easter when the priest did a ritual where he flung
holy water on the congregation while strolling down the aisle of
the church. My bf leaned over and said, ''You're getting baptized
right now,'' and I said ''Only if I believe in it.''
This is just a ritual. It doesn't mean anything for his future,
IMO. But you guys are going to have to prepare -- his parents
might later try to insist on other sacraments that would be more
invasive, like first communion, and you've got to have your story
straight by then!
First, I am a sort-of-practicing Catholic (of the liberation
theology type variety)with a non-Catholic partner. Our son is
almost 2, and was baptized in January. I am sickened by a lot of
what the church has done and still does, I cringe at a lot of the
ways that the principles of Catholicism are manifested in Church
doctrine. I dont have a lot of advice, but I thought I would
tell you a bit about how we made the decision to baptize our kid.
My advice to you is to not let this be such a big deal. We
baptized our son in a progressive parish with an awesome, kind,
progressive and open priest (Fr, Stefan at St Joseph the Worker
in Berkeley). I wanted to baptize my son not so he could live a
life forever in the Church based on no choice of his own just
cause his mama said so, but because I think that in our society,
it is east to move through the world without having community and
we are intentional about trying to build community for our son.
We are a Chicano/Puerto Rican family raising a bilingual son, so
his connection to other Spanish-speaking kids was a part of it
for us. Also, our parish is very progressive and sees a
cornerstone of the Catholic faith as engagement in social justice
issues which is also the type of community we want him to be part
Fr Stefan described baptism in a way that I found beautiful and
grounding: sacraments are ''sacred moment'' - thats what the word
means. He explained that the baptism is not for him as the
priest to bestow something on our son that he doesnt already have
but instead to take the moment to reflect on all of the blessings
he has - the love of family, the love of his parents, the love of
his community, and the love of god. Thats what a baptism is - a
moment to recongize these blessings. I found that very simple
and honest. The baptism is also about a congregation/community
saying, ''welcome, little one! we have community with you!''. I
think this is cool.
Now, we dont go to church every Sunday and we dont practice
hardly Catholic rituals in our home. But that baptism was a nice
rite of passage, for one day, in which our son was formally
welcomed into a community that he can decide later in life if he
wants to maintain that relationship or not. Thats all.
Its a symbol, a ritual. Notihng else. Our son was baptized as a
toddler so he was pretty involved and active in the ceremony
which was slightly insane logistically but really cool. It wasnt
something done to him, it was a ritual he participated in. At
one point, the priest lit the baptismal candle, which is a sybmol
of his faith, and my son was trying to blow it out. My firs
impluse was to try to stop him, and Fr Stefan said, ''its okay,
its just a symbol, you guys'' and bent down so Amado could blow it
out. We all applauded and it was a cool moment that brought it
all in perspective for me.
Oh, and one more thing. We wanted this to not be ''baptism as
excuse for party'' situation so to keep it mellow, we asked for no
gifts and had a very small cermony with a small mellow dinner
afterwards. We didnt invite all of our friends, just family and
friends for whom we knew particiapting in a baptism would be
meaningful for them and who we see as playing a role in the
upbringing of our kid - spiritually, emotionally, politically,
and socially. I think this helped keep things in perspective also.
So my advice is to not think that in making this decision you are
making a decision for him forever. As long as you and your
partner are clear on this, its fine. But its your kid and you
have to feel comfortable with it.
Hope this helps.
genevieve, mama of Amado
We had a (somewhat) similar situation: I am protestant, my husband a
lapsed Mormon (the two baptism rituals are essentially incompatible). I
practiced pretty faithfully all of my life, he has not so much.
We agreed to the following, while I was pregnant (which made it easier):
more to me in some sense, as left to my own devices I practiced, he did
not. So I
would take our son along when I practiced, and this included the baptism
However, as he grew, we would both make very clear that different people
parents included) have different beliefs and different practices, and
when he was old
enough, we would allow him to make his own choice.
This has more or less worked for us, although there have been tricky
along the way. For example, religious private school of any sort was
addition, the way in which we regard our differences is in itself
different -- so the
explanation I would give my son of what mommy versus daddy believe is
different than what my husband would say, even when we both do our best
It's a tough world to negotiate. Best of luck to you.
I am not Catholic, but from my experience in the Protestant
church, baptism can be interpreted as making it official that
your child is a ''child of God.'' I don't think that it makes
the child Catholic, or even necessarily Christian. Thinking of
it in that light may be helpful, especially if it is important
to your husband.
You could also suggest waiting until the child is older.
Baptisms aren't just for infants.
We had a similar situation. Both my husband and I were raised
Catholic, but since his teenage years my husband has claimed
himself an atheist. I, on the other hand, still have ties to
my Catholic faith. I go to church and do not expect my husband
to. However, when it came to baptizing our two children I felt
strongly that we should -- mostly for the tradition, the
symbolism, and the celebration. My husband agreed to it,
because he felt there would be no harm in it, despite his anti-
Catholic leanings. I plan on raising our kids Catholic, having
them go through first communion -- but at the time of the
sacrament of Confirmation,when they themselves must choose to
be Catholic or not -- I'll leave it up to them. Hope that
helps a little.
The Catholic half of our family!
Would you consider baptizing the baby using a former priest?
There are many priests who have left the Catholic ministry, but
are still allowed to perform Catholic sacraments. When my husband
and I got married, we had a priest from the White Robed Monks of
St. Benedict (Fr. Gerry Caprio) perform our ceremony, and it was
a great compromise - it was in the Catholic tradition, but
outside of the institutional Catholic Church. Fr. Gerry is
affiliated with the Spirit Rock Zen Center, and uses a lot of
Buddhist teachings in his ministry. He could definitely meet with
you and help you and your husband make a decision - he won't
judge you or try to push you into anything you don't want to do.
You can find more info about the WRM at
http://www.whiterobedmonks.net. Email me if you'd like - I'd be
happy to tell you more about our experience. Good luck!
My husband is also a Catholic, but I am a Jehovah's Witness.
His mother, and grandmother, etc. are Catholic. There was a
lot of family pressure over when our son would be baptized. We
had this discussion for a long time about our now 19 month old
son. I totally feel your pain on this one. We ultimately
decided NOT to baptize our son. Regardless of how many people
see it as ceremony or tradition only, it really means more
than that. We agreed to leave it up to our son. Here was our
reasoning: 1) We are both Christians and as such, we follow the
example of Jesus Christ, who was not baptized as a child, but
as an adult (Matthew 3:16); 2) Baptism is a public symbol of
one's dedication to God, which an infant is not capable of
making (1 Peter 4:2); and 3) Because the choice to be baptized
involves maintaining one's personal relationship with God
(Philippians 2:12) and disowning oneself to do God's will (Mark
8:34) it must be made by the individual. Everyone was appeased
this way. We are giving him a spiritual foundation with the
option to choose his own faith. Don't think that you have less
say if you are less active in a faith - not true. You are
equally your son's parent, and thus equally responsible
for your son's upbringing (including his spiritual education).
It sounds like you are doubtful about doing this and ''doubt
means don't.'' I hope this is helpful and that you can reach a
solution that you are BOTH comfortable with. You can email me
if you want or need anything else or just to vent! Take care.
I was in your shoes when my kids were babies. My husband was
raised Catholic, I am decidedly not Catholic. We went ahead
and had our kids baptized in the Catholic church. I was
apprehensive, but it was no big deal. Quick ceremony, nice
brunch afterwards, made my husband and in-laws happy.
Definitely did not make my kids Catholic. We rarely go to
church, couldn't get into Catholic school, and there's been no
mention of first communion. (Now that, I'd have a problem
Only you and your husband can decide what you want to do, but we were in
similar situation so I'll tell you my story. I started going back to the
around the time I met my husband. His father is Jewish and was brought
up in a
pretty secular household, but really enjoys tradition and faith. I even
synagogue thing, but because I wallow in my own faith, I didn't have the
conviction to convert. I eventually settled into a wonderful liberal
parish and when
our kids were born I told him I wanted to baptize them. We participate
Jewish holidays, but since his parents are not religious, they are
loosey goosey on
that. Usually I'm the one who spearheads any holiday celebration anyway.
baptized our children and will raise them in our way of being Catholic
and will see
them through First Communion. Confirmation, the adult process of
your baptismal promises will be up to them. Baptizing them is more about
them at this point. It pleased my parents, kinda ticked off my inlaws,
but they went
along. The babies won't remember it and I feel they have the right to go
spiritual direction they choose. The only foundation I can give them is
the one I
choose, but I will never teach them it is the only way. I think it would
be wonderful if
you would educate them in your tradition as well. As I understand it,
very accepting of other faiths so you have less of a conflict issue than
would. The point for me was to officially welcome them into my
which my husband partiticpates in even though he isn't Catholic. They
follow their own paths so I don't think Baptism will do any harm. But,
that is my
opinion. I'm sure many people will disagree. It really is something you
husband must decide. I will say this, though, if he does attend Church
doesn't pressure you, why not give him this gift?
I really couldn't believe in God any less, but I agreed to have
my son baptized, and when he's older attend Sunday School. (I
actually agreed to it before we got married, years before we had
a kid.) It's important to my husband, and I value his beliefs
even I don't share them. Plus it's easier to become an atheist
as an adult than it is to find religion, so our son can always
change his mind later!
It helped that I approve of my husband's church and that they
don't judge me for my atheism. They are very liberal and
humanitarian. I told the pastor who did the baptism that I
didn't want anyone ever telling our son that mommy was going to
hell, and she said she didn't even believe in hell.
I believe that this is a generosity issue. I thing that it is
generous of us to give our children access to every culural
advantage they can have. Is there a down side to it?
I am a lapsed Catholic and am just hitting the high lights for
my kids. Christenings, 1st Communion, & Confirmation. I have
chosen equally lapsed relatives to be ''God Parents'' and have no
problem with my little Berkeley boys saying things like ''I like
Ganesh. He's my favorite God.'' hee hee!!! It is so great that
our kids can learn about world religions and philosophies from
As educated people, we can give our kids a healthier take on it
Also, want to mention that at the parent info for 1st
communion, I learned that a lot has improved with the Catholic
dogma. For example; instead of the confession business being
weird in-the-box say 20 roseries for sassing yo mama, it is now
if you were mean to your mama be knd to her, or, if you lied to
your parents, talk to them.... instead of the ''say 10 hail
marys'' I grew up with. The way they put it was ''Now, the
punishment fits the crime in penance.'' and I like it.
I think going to church is nice. I still am freaked out by the
public health hazard potential of holy water but you know, how
many chances do kids get to be in a smallish hall with music &
sing? It is nice. It's also a good learning experience looking
up the songs in the song book & reading to sing...
I have been called a ''Cafeteria Catholic'' and think that that
is not bad. Why not let you kids have every cultual advantage
they can? Build in all of the Buddist ceremonies you can as
well. It sure makes the holidays more meaningfull!
You seemed to get quite a few opinions from Catholics
sympathetic to your husband, so I feel compelled to write my
experience. My husband was raised Catholic and is the only one
in his family who has left the faith; his parents are in
denial. My parents are both atheist, however my father was
baptized Catholic and also left the faith many years ago. I
personally went to a Catholic high school (only for the
education) and have therefore been taught about the Catholic
faith. I subsequently have zero interest in pursuing it.
We ultimately decided to baptize our first child, much against
my personal beliefs. I agreed to do it so my husband would not
get nagged for the rest of his life. Honestly I have little
sympathy for my in-laws, I only regret that they have chosen a
faith that has so little room for the inclusion of ''non-
believers''. I find it quite insulting that to Catholics,
children must be initiated into the faith as an infant, before
they have a chance to exercise their own free will. It also
insults me that this same faith has put me in a position where
as a mother, apparently I am not ''going to heaven'' with my own
children because I have not been baptized. It is incredulous.
With our second child, I actually had a panic attack over the
proposal to have my husband's entire family return again to
celebrate another baptism. We ended up baptizing her just on
our own at a local church, with no party and sent his parents
photos. This ended up being the best way for us - we performed
the baptism to satisfy my in-laws, however I was not forced to
endure the pageantry and guilt-trips from them. Believe me no
one was the winner here. The whole experience left a bad
feeling for all of us.
So, the idea of submitting my children to complete the other
sacraments is unnerving to me. I am sure my in-laws wish and
even expect this to happen (as I mentioned, they are in denial)
however we have no plans to do so. If our kids choose to
pursue Catholicism on their own once they are adults, I will
have to respect their wishes. However after this whole
experience, I can't say that I would ever teach my children
anything very positive about the faith.
My only saving grace about the baptism experience is that my
children do not remember it. We will be able to discuss it
with them when they are old enough to make up their own
opinions regarding religion. I do not believe you can be ''born
into'' a faith, especially if only 25% of your family agrees
with it. I believe faith is an entirely personal choice. It
is regrettable that Catholicism does not see it this way. No,
I would not say it is ''all about love'', I would say it is all
Yes, I am bitter
I can kind of see where your husband is coming from. We are
about to baptize our 2nd child. I was raised Catholic and my
husband was raised Lutheran. Both of us are not practicing
either of those religions and have our own spiritual beliefs.
However, our parents on both sides want us to baptize our
children. We agreed to baptize them in the Catholic Church with
my family and have ventured in to this solely for tradition's
sake for the time being. We have yet to decide whether or not we
could actually embark on the whole religious education journey in
the Catholic church primarily because I wholeheartedly do not
agree with all their beliefs nor could I ever see myself
embracing the Lutheran Church either. I have come to terms with
viewing our kids' baptisms as just a beginning. A tradition to
follow and we are open to see what comes next. Of course
Catholicism asks that you commit or continue their education
within the Church but as a parent, you'll know what is best for
your kids when the time comes for the next step.
Although, if it means something to your husband and his family,
then it really comes down to the fact that it is just a ceremony.
No more, no less. My in-laws and parents believe that if our
children are given some kind of structure of religious education,
whatever that may be, they may be more inclined to have the
knowledge to seek out what might be best for themselves later in
life. So, baptizing your child now does not mean that you are
choosing one religion over another. I don't see why we cannot
integrate a number of different teachings to our kids. There is
no one ''right'' way to do any of these things. And as you stated,
you just need to do whatever makes you feel comfortable in the
end. Good luck with whatever you decide is best for you and your
family. I hope this helps a little.
I have been invited to the Christening of my friend's baby boy.
They are Greek Orthodox. What would be some appropriate gift ideas?
secular and clueless
We are Greek Orthodox and for our son's Baptism we got gifts of all
mostly either checks or savings bonds. When I have been a guest at a
given either savings bonds or the Tiffany Bunny Bank, which you can
I enjoyed receiving (on my children's behalf) Christian themed
board books or a toddler story bible. Amazon has a good
selection of these. Also, a frame or photo album with a cross
or a St. Christopher medal on a chain for when they get older.
We really enjoyed receiving a book called ''In every tiny grain of
sand.'' Look it up on
Amazon. It's sweet & has great messages for kids. It quotes from all
religions, but the
illustrations are so great & the items pulled are simple enough for kids
Spiritual, but not secular. Check it out.
We recently attended a Catholic baptism, and being secular and clueless
wasn't sure how to mark the occasion. Since the celebrating family knows
religious, I thought giving an explicitly religious gift (like a
traditional rosary or
engraved bible) might come off as insincere, or just plain awkward. We
opted for a
pearl and gold infant ID bracelet, engraved with the baby's name. I
thought it was
really quite pretty, and it seemed formal enough for the occasion,
her parents will keep well past baby-hood. (It turned out to be a big
on your price range, you can find these bracelets anywhere from Tiffany
Envelope. Good luck!
Crucifixes are always a nice gift for baptisms. Wall crosses
be put up in a baby's room for example. Many catholic baptisms
require a small crucifix for the baby during the rite, so a
necklace sized crucifix may not be needed by the parents.
Simple or artistic crosses are usually more welcome for home
use than the traditional body of Christ on a cross. I'm an
Irishman, so prefer Celtic crosses, and love the crosses made
from pressed turf. And they are more affordable than silver
etc. I've only seen them available from Ireland. Example
prod=220. If you look you will find some very unique and
artistic wall crosses.
I would suggest a picture frame with the child's name, and
christening date. It's special and thoughtful, and yet, not
necessarily religious. There are tons online...google ''baptism
gifts''. -Good luck!
Bought a baptism gift last week
My husband and I don't enjoy the presents our kids receive for
birthdays, holidays, et cetera. We both have extended families
and the boys receive tons of gifts that they don't even know
what to do. We're grateful for the thoughts and the time people
take time to make to provide gifts for the kids. We rarely ever
have birthday parties and may have them randomly once every
couple of years. We are planning a baptism for our infant son
and we would like to request ''No gifts please. Simply your
presence is requested.'' Is it rude to receive an invite with a
line such as the one we want to add? We don't want to offend
but we don't want presents. Please advise. Thank you
How 'bout ''No gifts, please. Your presence is ''present'' enough!
Not rude, a little cute and says it all
-Congrats on your new baby.
Although I can imagine that some people might think it rude, I
don't. But another approach could be to decide as a family on a
charitable organization--say the church where you are baptizing
your child, or a group that provides social services to
children--and request that instead of gifts, your guests bring a
donation to that organization. Your friends and family are only
trying to spread the wealth by bringing gifts. If you have
enough already, let them spread the wealth further
Try this: ''Instead of a gift, we ask that you make a
contribution to your favorite charity.''
A fine line is ''You presense, please, but no presents.'' I would not consider that
In my opinion it is not rude at all to kindly request no gifts.
I've seen it done and done it myself (mainly for b-day parties
for adults, which is a different scenario than you're
describing). I'm glad and relieved when people are clear about
what they want, and I imagine most of your invitees would be
also. And the ones who want to get your child a gift will go
ahead and do it anyways!
It's kind of rude but not nearly as rude as specifying what gift someone should get. I
wouldn't put it on the invitation, but if you do say ''no gifts, please'' it probably won't
offend most people, I just have a pet peeve with all these commands on invitations
irked social gal
I would not be offended at an invitation that said ''no gifts
please''. If you do write that, though, be prepared that some
guests will bring gifts anyway. Smile graciously and say thank
you -- they don't have to know if you give the gifts to Goodwill
Its not rude to say ''No Gifts Please'', but people often ignore
it. You could ask for monetary donations instead of gifts,
which you could then donate to your favorite charity
I once recieved a lovely invitation that said something along
the lines of, ''Your presence is our gift -- no other gifts
happy to attend without having to shop
not rude at all. some will be relieved. You will still receive
some gifts, because some people just don't feel comfortable not
giving something. When my husband and I married, we had a
similar (very informal) wedding invitation. and it said
soemthing like: no gifts please, we have everything we need, but
we do appreciate your presence, which is the best gift! If,
however, you still feel in a giving mood, here are some of our
favorite charities: (and we listed 4 or 5 of our favorites.) We
also suggested that if they have a favorite, then they could
donate there. We ended up with a few donation acknowledgements,
and only a small handful of small and very thoughtful gifts
(which we hid from everybody else)
My late grandmother, whom I adored, would always say: ''My
present is your presence!''
I use this line for our invitations, and have only gotten
positive feedback...and no unwanted gifts!
-As Grandma Always Said
I don't think it's rude at all to put ''No gifts please'' on the
invitation. I've received a few invitations like that, and to
be honest, I've always been very grateful to see that :-). If
people wanted to bring something, perhaps you could recommend
that they write a nice letter that the child can read when they
get older, or you can ask that they bring a photo of themselves
that you will use to put in their baby book/scrapbook
''No Gifts Please'' Fan
I always like the line ''No gifts please. Your presence is your
present.'' I don't think it's rude at all, and if folks bring
gifts anyway (and inevitably some will), just smile graciously
and say thank you.
I think an easy line to add to an invation is ''No presents
please, your ''presence'' is gift enough!''
Or something along those lines.
We just sent out this invitation!
Ours said ''This will be a small, simple ceremony. No gifts please''
Why don't you say you don't want gifts, but give people the
option of donating to either a college fund for the child or to a
charity of your choosing if they feel they must gift? I'm sure
there is a polite way of saying that
I don't think this is rude at all! I appreciate getting things
like this, especially since money is tight for so many of us.
You *could* decide, if people challenge you on it (for us it's
often relatives who feel like they have to spend money to
commemorate an event, that in lieu of gifts we would be honored
if you would make a donation in our child's name to _________
(your favorite non-profit, perhaps one that works on child
welfare locally or globally).
I do not think that it is rude to put in a request for no
presents. I have been to a few baptisms with that request. I
totally understand the desire to limit the amount of stuff that
flows in. The flip side is that you have people in your life
that want to express their affection in a material way. You
can always donate unwanted gifts to worthwhile organizations.
In my opinion it is not rude. Some may disagree. But, it is
your family's event, and it is your right to call the shots. If
someone insists, thell them they can make a donation to the
church or another organization in your child's honor.
I have read on invitations a straightforward, ''No gifts, please''. Also, ''Your presence is
the only presents required.'' Also, ''In lieu of a gift, please make a donation to the
charity of your choice'', (or to a specifically donated charity). Also, ''all gifts will be
donated to a homeless shelter''. None of these have ever offended me, except maybe
the last one just a little bit, and I'm not even sure why
I don't think it's rude to say ''no gifts, please'' for your
celebration. The thing is, families give gifts even if you tell
them not to - I don't think you can stop them from doing this. In
my experience, our families get a lot of pleasure out of buying
things for our child. It would be rude not to accept their gifts,
so we just thank them and donate the stuff we don't want.
Also, it's traditional for most baptism presents to be bonds. If
someone asks you for a gift suggestion, you could always mention
the college fund. (You can't request money gifts in lieu of
presents, though - that actually would be rude.)
Why not just donate the unwrapped presents to Elisabeth House
or some other place that gives nurture to people in need?
Then, write a note: ''Thank you for the lovely gift'' or ''Thanks
for the sweet present.'' mail them off and win win!
People LOVE shopping for baby presents! The old gals get out
and have a nice day, Women in stressed out surcumstances get a
NEW, wrapped gift, not some old unwanted thing, and you don't
have to clutter up your over full house!
The path of least resistance.
My family has recently moved to the Richmond area and we have a
9 month old baby that I'd like to baptize. The problem is, I'm
catholic and my husband is agnostic. I very much want to have
my daughter baptized, so I'm looking for a non-denominational
congregation that can conduct the ceremony. Previous posts are
dated, so I'd appreciate any advice or suggestions.
Have your daughter baptized Catholic! You will regret it in the
future if you don't. It doesn't matter that your husband is
agnostic--just find a more liberal minded parish (this is the bay
area, after all). St. Joseph's in Alameda, Saint Francis de
Sales Saint Mary's in Oakland, Saint Joseph the worker in
Berkeley... the list goes on and on. If you want the best for
your daughter, go for the best! They won't worry about your
Welcome to the Bay! I'm a mom of the 13 month old and the pastor of
the Hills Lutheran in Berkeley (we're located at the entrance to Tilden where
Peak Blvd meets Spruce). In many ways our services are like those you'd find in a
Roman Catholic Church. We are very open, welcome all kinds of people, have a
great Sunday School and several babies. If you would like to know more about
baptism here, give me a call at 510-524-8281. Congratulations!
We are getting our son baptized later this month at a Catholic
church and were wondering what an ''appropriate'' baptismal
offering is, since they gave us an envelope with our paperwork
and it seems like it is expected. Does anyone have any
suggestions about what a good amount is?
You would be safe with a donation of between $50 and $100.
We baptize our child last June in SF and the ''suggested'' donation was $50.00 in the Mission Dolores Cathedral, I was asking around other churches,(since our main concern was the date), and this looks like the standard amount, they range from $40.00 to $75.00, some other churches ask for an extra ''tip'' for the priest time. I think your best bet is to ask them directly what is the expected donation. Congrats on the Baptism of your baby.
We baptized our son last year and I think we donated $45. The Church gave us a range (it is pay what you can but they had a suggested amount) at the baptism class.
My daughter was baptised last May in our Catholic Church. They recommended an offering of $20. This seemed low to me.
Things to keep in mind: is it a private ceremony or part of a regular Sunday service? What can you afford? What do YOU feel is a respectable amount for you in your situation (this will be different for everyone)?
Congratulations to you and your family!
Hi, my husband and I are also in the process of getting our daughter Baptised. Our family has always donated $100 for weddings, funeral, baptism or any other services we request.
But really, there is no right or wrong, it's what you can afford. The church really does not mind whatever amount you give, that's why they don't specify any amount on the envelop.
And actually, we don't even use the envelop we just give a Thank You card with the donation.
I'm curious if anyone can provide some suggestions for a non-
religious baptism gift. Outside of a nice note, are there any
books that speak about loving one another, sharing or building
confidence that you can recommend? The gift should be
appropriate for a one-year-old child. Thank you.
Perhaps your gift need not be geared to a one year old, but
rather for the child to keep, and for the family to appreciate
beyond this year. A beautifully illustrated hard cover book
would be nice. I'm sure if you went to Cody's in Berkeley or the
Storyteller in Lafayette that a staff person could steer you to a
great book that talks about humanity and love, or all the people
of the world, or taking care of the earth. There are even some
books that refer to spirituality but have a broader base of
recognition. A beautiful book that I saw recently comes to mind
(but I don't remember its name). I saw it at the Museum of
Childrens Art (MOCHA) in Oakland, where they have a wonderful
exhibit about book illustrators (their childhood drawings and
their drawings now - you should go see it!). Anyhow, the book
illustrates the verse...''To every thing there is a season, and a
time to every purpose under heaven.'' The illustrations are
detailed and colorful and depict people from a variety of
ethnicities. A nice note by you at the front of the book would
make the gift even more thoughtful and personal. We still enjoy
reading enscriptions of books my 7 yr old received when she was a
My grand nephew is about to be baptized in the Catholic church.
I would like to send a meaningful gift, but other than a tiny
baby's cross (I'm sure he'll receive many), I've no idea of what
to send. Any ideas?
It may be a few years before your g. nephew can use it, but my
son enjoys reading ''Preschoolers Bible''. It has about 6 bible
stories, all with pictures to help indroduce some of the basic
principles. There are several versions, and I think there may
be a toddlers version also.
Traditionally in our family a "keepsake" type gift is given, and
it is based on the relationship you have with the child. For example,
I am the godmother to my niece and she and her godfather (my brother)
gave her a Tiffany Hairbrush... We have gotten as gifts the tiffany hairbrush, etc.
There are also many meaningful choices at Sagreda on Telegraph.
I am fond of a cross for the baby's room some piece of religous
We took a baptism education class prior to having our son
baptized. The teacher mentioned that seashells were a symbol of
baptism (something about a shell being used to put the water on
the baptisee). I thought that a beautiful shell or something
sea related would be a great gift.
How about giving a nice, leather-bound copy of the bible?
Or a picture frame with the date of the baptism engraved or
painted on it? How about a bible verse or phrase that is
meaningful to you painted on it?
Try Sagrada 4926 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 510-653-7196, also
one at 411 Hartz Ave, Danville, CA 925-820-6359. They have nice
and unique religious stuff.
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