I had missed Pope Francis’s question in his narrative of Mother church last week. This quick news bit drew it out:
I would like to ask each of you here, and you can respond in your heart: how many of you remember the date of your baptism?
I do remember it. But I was eleven at the time.
The original schedule had my siblings and I getting baptized on August 8th. I don’t know why, but there was a delay and the celebration was moved two weeks later, which happened to be my (Protestant) parents’ 25th wedding anniversary.
A few minutes before 3pm that Saturday afternoon, I was slightly worried. I would be on the spot for reciting the Apostles’ Creed pretty soon. I had been going to Sunday Mass for some months at this point. I had the Nicene Creed down pat–that by liturgical osmosis I suppose.
I never felt I was very good at memorizing stuff, and I was slightly concerned the difference in the two versions was going to trip me up. But then the baptistery at St Andrew’s Church provided me a “cheat sheet.” In stained glass no less. When the family and godparents had gathered in the small room off the vestibule, behind Father McCarthy the afternoon sun illuminated a scroll with … the Apostles’ Creed.
I thought that it was important not to “cheat” at the baptism liturgy. I kept my eyes focused on the water in the font (custody of the eyes?) during the recitation of the Creed. It seemed I had memorized it correctly after all and I didn’t mix up the words of the “long format.”