Monday, September 6, 2010

A Family Celebration - Sofia's Christening Day

Our granddaughter Sofia Hannah May Caitlin Rotte was Christened on Saturday in St. Carthage's Church in Lismore and we had a lovely day. Even though she and her parents Shayne and Jany live in Cork they had her Baptised in our local Parish church here, and she wore the Centenary-plus Christening Robe that's become a family heirloom. It's been around for over 100 years and my late mother was Christened in it, so was I, as were our four children - two in Africa and two in Ireland - and it is lovely to see the next generation getting to wear it.

It's fine cotton and bordered with lots of broderie anglaise, with tuck pleats sewn into the bodice and it is very long. It is quite delicate and fragile now, with a few small worn patches that I am afraid to touch as far as repairing it goes, so I hope it will be okay after each use. So far so good! Her Aunt Maeve and Uncle William were her Godparents, a first for both of them and it is a great
honour for them.

It is also amazing that it fits the older babies of this generation as in my day babies were Baptised in the first week, to get them past the Limbo post in the days when the Catholic church held firm to such cruel beliefs. At least my understanding is that Limbo has gone the way of the dinosaurs in Catholic theology which can't be a bad thing, although my knowledge of doctrinal issues would be fairly flimsy. It was done away with a while back, which makes the whole premise a bit shaky if you can drop dogma when it suddenly doesn't suit the current climate.

The day was warm and sunny, and the Christening took place at 5:00pm, which was a bit late but suited us down to the ground, as we had plenty of time to get ready after the gang arrived from Cork. I had done some baking already since I am on hols and had some unpressured time on my hands, and we prepped some salads - rice and raisins and a pasta and tuna salad, and a tossed salad, and marinated a lot of stuff for the BBQ, which was hubby's domain.

The ceremony was a traditional Catholic Baptism, done by the Parish Priest Fr. Cullinan. It is quite arcane in parts, with not alone the pouring of water at the Baptismal Font, but the lighting of the Baptismal Candle, and the covering of the baby with a white shawl. These are all symbolic of the welcoming into the church community, and are pretty timeless, and may be present in other denominations. I suppose adult baptism is common in many Evangelical churches, and it seems to involve wearing a white garment, so there are probably parallels across the Christian community.

I'm always for what unites rather than separates us so while I'm a bit of an "a la carte Catholic" myself, as are the children, it seemed important to have Sofia brought into the church, given the Sacraments like Baptism, Communion and Confirmation, and then as an adult or teenager she will have the chance to make a more informed decision about what her religion means to her.

We all feel the church is the people rather than the institution, and that helps to ameliorate the negativity surrounding the church as an institution, which hasn't had a great time in recent years - all self-inflicted with the cover-ups of abuse scandals and the arrogance of the leadership - and the good thing is that people are now no longer unquestionably accepting everything we hear from the hierarchy, who really have lost the confidence of their flock and lost any right to moral authority.

Enough philosophising - after the ceremony we went back to our house and got Sofia out of the Christening robe after the photo session in the garden, and had a lovely BBQ on the patio. It was a small gathering of family and friends - some from Lismore and some from Cork - and we were blessed with the weather that enabled us to sit out relaxing after a lovely meal until darkness fell. Sofia was fabulous all day, didn't cry except when the white shawl covered her head, and stayed happy through all the pass-the-baby cooing back at the house. She got some lovely silver gifts sets engraved with her name and the date of the event.

I made a Christening cake with white fondant icing and pink-dyed (with red food colour - perfect for pink!) butter icing for piping. I'll post the recipe but it's very simply a Victoria Sponge base with whatever you fancy for decoration. I nearly got demoralised when I looked at some cakes on the internet as the standard of the professional cakes is not something I'll attain without some serious training - I'm no Cake Boss! But everyone was duly impressed with mine so I'm happy with those accolades.

Here are some photos of the day, and I hope you enjoy sharing what was a wonderful celebration with the proud parents and grandparents.


Unknown said...

What a very special day that was!!! Thank you for all the fabulous pictures, it looks like it was an awesome time!!!

PS thanks for stopping by my blog! I love meeting new people and would be very happy to join your following journey :)

Mimi said...

Catherine, she's the spitting image of you!
So, you had a real BBQ as well as a cyber BBQ, all in one weekend!
Looks like a gread, family celebration, and glad you enjoyed it. You were blessed with the weather, it has fairly turned today.

Catherine said...

Thanks for visiting Jen and for following also. Hope you enjoy the journey in blogland - it's a bit chaotic at times! Glad you liked this post, we had a lovely time - are you on Facebook? if so there are lots more pix there - so check it out.

Mimi - I am still looking for the resemblance but it's nice that you see it! Never thought about the serendipity of a real and a virtual BBQ in the same weekend! We're brought back to earth now with this rain! Hope it improves - we're off to Donegal day after tomorrow!

All the best, Catherine

Shannon O'Donnell said...

What a beautiful baby girl! Congratulations to your family. :-)

Theresa Milstein said...

Sofia is adorable. Lovely pictures.

Lily said...

Catherine, what a lovely celebration, thanks for sharing the pictures.

The cake looks great. I think your family would 100 times prefer your home-baked cake regardless of the fact that you don't feel like a 'cake boss'.

Anyway they wouldn't love a 'cake boss' half as much! :)

Catherine said...

Thanks girls! Shannon - she's a beauty alright! We are all mad about her and she's a real sweetheart.

Theresa - she is adorable and we were so lucky to have a great day weather wise - it's changed now and we have rain and wind. Great to have the photos of such an occasion.

Lily - must apologise for not reading this month's book - it's been too busy and I didn't get it in the library - I don't even know if they have it as our local branch library is closed for renovations and I had a run in with Dungarvan library over The Lacuna - I spilt tea on it and had to buy it - no probs there as I planned to pay for the damage - but I saw red when the woman said they'd be throwing it out as no-one would want a book with tea stains on it! I said that would be a sinful waste and promptly bought the book from her! So I'm keeping a low profile there now.
Sofia's day was great - and the cake was good too even if not piped to perfection! Haha!

All the best, Catherine.

Marguerite said...

What a lovely day and celebration! Sophia is just precious and such a beauty! Loved all of the pics and the cake looks fab! Congrats to all!

Catherine said...

Thanks Marguerite - she is indeed a beauty! We're all mad about her, she's a dote as we say here! The day was perfect and the weather helped in a land where weather is so often a let-down. The cake was a pleasant success - I hadn't used fondant icing before, and it was very easy to get a nice result.
All the best, Catherine