History Project – Infant Baptismal Preparation

Rosemary Mausser shares memories of the years when she and her husband Ron helped with the preparation of parents for the baptism of their infants and young children. This ministry was another important aspect of St. Mary’s commitment to lay participation in the life of the church, and for many years, in addition to the baptismal banner, a “Welcome” bulletin board in the narthex of the old church featured Polaroid photos of the families at each baptism, as well as photos of individuals and families new to St. Mary’s.

In 1978, after the birth of our second child, Ron and I were asked and trained by Father Tom O’Connor to assist in the preparation of parents for the Baptism of their children. We would go to the families’ homes, welcome them to the parish family if necessary, and share basic theology on what Baptism means.

If their home was not available, parents would come to our house, which meant our children were banished to the upstairs–an event they remember 30 plus years later, in part because the television was downstairs! We also used a filmstrip (yes that old technology) to show how the Church’s and its members’ understanding of infant Baptism had developed after Vatican II. This included the important ongoing role of parents and the Church community in educating the child and a reduction in the image of the sacrament as a magical solution for salvation.

Baptisms were not generally held on Sundays, but we had big banners at the front of Church welcoming our new members by name. My notes show we prepared about 20 families.

We were the main contacts for this ministry through 1988. I believe someone else did it for a few years after.

Rosemary Mausser
March, 2023