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The Perfect Day


My son was baptized on Pentecost. Celebrating his first sacrament, and joining all Catholics around the world celebrating the birth of the Church on the same day was an amazing experience. I’d love to take credit for some ingenious planning, but it was the Holy Spirit at work. Two dates in May were available, and the 19th was better for us. When I realized that the celebrations were the same day, I prayed in thanksgiving for such a gift. Of course, the Holy Spirit would always be with my son, but this made it even more special.
 
I started planning with zeal. A lovely, upscale restaurant; beautiful centerpieces; 80 of our family members. I even hired a photographer for family pictures. My son was going to wear my husband’s baptismal outfit. As the day drew closer, the weather forecast called for a gorgeous high 60s/low 70s weekend. Everything was shaping for a perfect day.
 
Then the day arrived. Ever hear the saying, “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans”? Well, it was kind of like that. It poured rain, and because my son doesn’t nap well, I had to walk him in the rain for an hour in the stroller to make sure he napped before the big event. He had a great nap, and I thought, “Crisis averted.” The photographs? Not a problem. The church is gorgeous, so we’ll just take pictures inside.
 
My husband played with our son while I got ready, and off to church we went. On the way, my phone rang. It was the restaurant. “Are you sitting down?” was the way the conversation started. The fire alarm and sprinklers had gone off in the kitchen as the staff was preparing for the party. They were waiting for the Board of Health’s approval so they could reopen for the party. “Worst case scenario,” she said, “is that we won’t have time to prepare the food and we’ll order pizza.” Pizza? Hours of party planning and we’re having pizza?
 
The ceremony was lovely. The Holy Spirit was alive and present, and I felt great joy. Almost every guest made it to the church, and we were surrounded by so much love. And my son didn’t cry (probably due to the fact that the baptismal water in our church is heated) or poop through his vintage baptismal gown. I was re-inspired.
 
I had missed several calls during the ceremony, all from the restaurant. I called back after the baptism, and they gave me an update. “Change of plans,” she said. “The Board of Health didn’t get here in time, but the restaurant next door has generously lent us their space.”
 
The restaurant next door is a pub. Not that there’s anything wrong with eating pizza in a pub, but it certainly was not the day I had imagined and spent hours planning.
 
Family photos were taken in the church and then we set off to the restaurant. Our guests were already there when we arrived, they were all having a blast, and they could not wait to meet my son. The love and joy I felt at church immediately returned and replaced the dread I felt walking into the pub. Love of family, shelter from the rain, warm food, and celebrating the sacrament of baptism. It was all I hoped and dreamed for the day, just in a different package then I expected.
 
Amy Reed is a member of RENEW International’s Marketing and Communications team. A Notre Dame alumna, she and her husband recently welcomed their first child, a boy, to the family.

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