When parents bring their child to be baptized, it might seem to be out of obligation or family expectation. In reality, the sacraments are where we experience our faith in the most tangible way. Baptism is the moment that a child is adopted as a child of God. In our parish, Pre-Baptism catechesis is much more than a box to check. It is an opportunity to connect with parents and share the importance of living a life of faith. Devo and Carrie Voss, along with Darlene Walencewicz, use Pre-Baptism Catechesis to share their experiences as Catholics.
“We want to speak from the heart as parishioners,” Devo says. “We have jobs, children, and the same daily stresses. We want to show them the value of becoming stewards and giving their time, talent, and treasure. We are just parishioners who have taken those steps in our lives.”
When families come to the parish to arrange a Baptism, they initially meet with Fr. Tony for an hour of catechesis, getting to know the parents and their practice of the faith. After that meeting, Fr. Tony sets up a class with Devo, Carrie, or Darlene, who are themselves parents. After watching a video from the diocese, they have time for discussion. This is a chance for them to witness the movement of the Holy Spirit in their lives and in our parish.
“Raising your child in the faith and participating is going to bring you great happiness and joy,” Devo says. “We share personal stories. We see these young families and we’ve experienced what’s out there in the world. Like with our own children, we try to give them our best advice — stick close to the faith.”
Darlene has been serving as a catechist for many years. She has seen the fruit of catechesis when seeing parents and older children attending Mass who initially were not practicing their faith until their formation preparing for their child’s baptism.
“I see them as babies and I see parents starting out needing faith formation,” Darlene says. “Down the road, I get to see the changes in family life.”
Sharing the richness of a life of faith and community is a gift that all of our parishioners can give. We are always looking for those who are willing to share what God has done in their lives.
“The entire Church is called to show up to inspire catechumens,” Devo says.
To learn more about Pre-Baptism Catechesis, contact the parish office at 808-887-1220.