We all make our children’s birthdays special, especially their first birthday, so why not celebrate their baptism anniversaries, too? After all, baptism is “spiritual birth” into God’s family, giving your child a new identity, special responsibilities, and a life mission. When it is fully realized, baptism is a completely life-changing event.
The challenge, of course, is to fully realize the grace of baptism. And when it comes to infants and children, it is you, the parents who have the first responsibility for pulling that off, with the help of the faith community. Celebrating the anniversary of your children’s baptisms is one way to emphasize its importance and teach them what it means. Why not start a new tradition in your family this year by celebrating your children’s baptism anniversaries?
Ways to Celebrate Baptism Anniversaries:
Invite the godparents and anyone else who had been present at the baptism of that child. If the godparents cannot come, they might be asked to write a letter each year to their godchild, thus keeping the spiritual relationship alive.
When the children are little, tell them of their baptismal day in the form of a story. Later, go with them through the ceremonies and rites of the Sacrament of Baptism. Take them back to the baptismal font and there solemnly renew with them the baptismal vows.
If on birthdays all kinds of secular gifts are given, on the baptismal day we might give, gradually, all that our children require for their spiritual life. For example, a Missal, starting with a small missal for children, the New Testament, later the complete Bible, a holy water font, a crucifix, etc.…
On this day, the baptismal candle should be taken out and put in a candlestick. The white garment which the child wore on the day of baptism, should also be taken out, and the children should be reminded of the special meaning of each item.
Celebrating Baptismal Anniversaries - A Family Prayer Service
Here is a prayer service for celebrating the baptismal anniversary of a family member.
Materials needed: Bowl with Holy Water, Bible, Baptismal Candle
Select one of these readings from the New Testament: Romans 6:3-5, Galatians 3:26-28, or Ephesians 4:1-6.
Set the bowl of water onto a table. Place the lit Baptismal Candle near the bowl. Gather around the table and select a reader and a leader for the following prayer.
Leader: Today is the day that you, [name], were baptized. On this day you were welcomed as a Christian by your family, and by the Church. Today we will again sign you with the cross, to remember that you were baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Let us listen to the words of the Scriptures.
Reader: A reading from [name of book]. (Reader reads the selected passage.)
Reader: The Word of the Lord.
All: Thanks be to God.
Leader: In Baptism we have been filled with the light of Christ. May we walk always as children of the light and keep the flame of faith alive in our hearts. May we live each day knowing our true identity as beloved children of God. And when the Lord comes, may we go out to meet him with all the saints in the heavenly kingdom to live with him forever and ever.
Invite the group to make the Sign of the Cross on the celebrant's forehead; then invite everyone to sign their own foreheads with holy water. Offer the sign of peace and celebrate with a special meal or treat.
Resources from: Teaching Catholic Kids.com; Catholic Culture; Loyola Press