I am lucky enough to be a parishioner at Christ the King in Little Rock, Arkansas. It is a large, active parish with a lovely church, chapel, and school. As you enter the sanctuary through the main doors, there is a big, beautiful baptismal font that you could climb in and be immersed, if you so choose. Brass railings adorn the font, although I think they are more functional than decorative. When I see it, I can’t help but think back to my baptism.
I was baptized at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Harrisonburg, VA in 2008.
It is a smaller parish, but it is very active. The current sanctuary was added on to the older church as the parish grew. The baptismal font is beautiful in its own way. It is older and smaller. If it were a house, it would be cozy. As we were going through RCIA, the question about the baptism eventually came up. Our priest, Fr. Tom Mattingly, has a Broadway voice and enjoys baptizing adults. Fr. Tom enjoys the pageantry of the Easter Vigil, but he is also a function-over-form type of guy. He and I got along well. We assumed we would hold our heads over the font and he would trickle a little water over our heads. No. That’s not good enough.
“We bring a baby pool down front so everyone can see it. And, I like to get people wet.”
“I’m sorry. Did you say baby pool?”
“Yes!” was the response with a grin similar to when my three year old finds out she gets ice cream.
When the Easter Vigil rolled around, sure enough, there was a blue baby pool right in front of the altar.
The same kind you would get at Walmart for $5. The same kind they don’t secure because they’re not heart-broken if someone just runs off with one, and honestly, no one would run off with one. When my turn came, I found out why they used a baby pool. Fr. Tom took a ceramic, 2-quart pitcher; filled it with holy water; dumped it over my head; and repeated this two more times. Music played. The choir sang. Fr. Tom was in his element. I was in a baby pool, soaking wet. It was amazing!
Fr. Tom is no longer at Blessed Sacrament and I don’t know if they still use a baby pool, but I love my baptism. The music, the scents, the packed church, the baby pool. It was all incredible.