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  • Writer's pictureVeronica Pulumbarit

#Reflection: How to celebrate baptismal anniversaries

Updated: Jul 26, 2020

Celebrating one's baptismal anniversary is not very common among Catholics in the Philippines. It even seems that many are not aware of the day of their baptism.

For this writer, it is June 26, more than two months after I was born.

June 26 also happens to be the feast day of one of our favorite saints -- Saint Josemaria Escriva, founder of Opus Dei.

I only made a conscious effort to remember this a few years back when a priest said our Baptismal Day is more important than the day of our birth.

He said baptism signifies our "birthday in Heaven" as it is when we became part of God's family in Heaven.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says: "Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission: 'Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the word.'"

It also says: "Baptism is birth into the new life in Christ. In accordance with the Lord's will, it is necessary for salvation, as is the Church herself, which we enter by Baptism."

Celebrating baptismal anniversaries

Loyola Press says a family prayer service can be conducted to celebrate baptismal anniversaries.

What to prepare: Holy Bible, bowl with water (Holy Water, if possible), candle

What to do:

(1) On a table, place a candle (Baptismal candle, if possible) and a bowl of water (Holy Water, if possible).

(2) Prayer Leader: Today is the day that you, [name], were baptized. On this day you were welcomed as a Christian by your family, and by the Church. Today we will again sign you with the cross, to remember that you were baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Let us listen to the words of the Scriptures. Reader: A reading from [choose from any of the following: Romans 6:3-5; Galatians 3:26-28, or Ephesians 4:1-6). Reader: The Word of the Lord. All: Thanks be to God. Leader: In Baptism we have been filled with the light of Christ. May we walk always as children of the light and keep the flame of faith alive in our hearts. May we live each day knowing our true identity as beloved children of God. And when the Lord comes, may we go out to meet him with all the saints in the heavenly kingdom to live with him forever and ever. All: Amen.

After saying the prayer, those present can make the Sign of the Cross on the celebrant's forehead. Then, they can make the Sign of the Cross on their own foreheads with Holy Water. Afterward, the group may gather for a treat or special meal.

Meanwhile, Catholic Culture recommends making a renewal of baptismal promises.

"In many places the anniversary of Baptism is joyfully kept as a personal feast day, as the true birthday of supernatural life. People observe it by attending Mass, receiving Communion, renewing their baptismal vows, burning the candle of Baptism for a little while, and performing some other acts of devotion during the day," Catholic Culture says.

Renewal of Baptismal Promises

V. Do you reject Satan?

R. I do.

V. And all his works?

R. I do.

V. And all his empty promises?

R. I do.

V. Do you believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth?

R. I do.

V. Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary was crucified, died, and was buried, rose from the dead, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father?

R. I do.

V. Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting?

R. I do.

V. God, the all-powerful Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has given us a new birth by water and the Holy Spirit, and forgiven all our sins. May he also keep us faithful to our Lord Jesus Christ for ever and ever.

R. Amen.

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