Sunday, January 24, 2016

A Baptismal Rite for the 21st Century

Rite of Baptism
Enzo Knox Van Bergen
Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community
Albany, NY
January 24, 2016


Presider 1: It is with great joy that we, The Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community welcome Kellie and T’Quomas Van Bergen, with their son Enzo Knox, to this celebration of Baptism. Enzo was born on November 4, 2015 at 8:31 pm. His mother and father and extended family welcomed him to this beautiful world on that special day. Today, we formally welcome Enzo to the Christian Community through the sacrament of Baptism.

Presider 2: Let us pray. O Holy One, you continually remind us that you love your creation by sending us brand new possibilities in the form of daughters and sons.  May Enzo grow in his understanding of your infinite love as he learns the meaning of faith through service. May he come to appreciate his responsible place as co-creator of his life in You. Amen. (pause)
Please join in singing our opening song: All Are Welcome

Opening Song: All Are Welcome


Presider 1: The first reading is about the special place of each person in God’s love.  People sometimes say, when talking about a time before someone was even conceived, that he or she was “no more than a gleam in the parents’ eyes”.  We find that same way of thinking, not literally, but as a metaphor about how God holds us in love, in this passage from Psalm 139 read by Paula Reynolds.

First Reading: Psalm 139
O Holy One, My Beloved, you have searched me out and known me;
you know my sitting down and my rising up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.

You trace my journeys and my resting places
and are acquainted with all my ways.

For you yourself created my inmost parts;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I will thank you because I am marvelously made;
your works are wonderful, and I know it well.

My body was not hidden from you,
while I was being made in secret
and woven from the elements of the earth.

You beheld my limbs, yet unfinished in the womb;
all of them were written in your book;
they were fashioned day by day,
when as yet there was none of them.
How precious to me are your creations, O Holy One!

Presider 2: Our Second reading is from a letter written by the apostle Paul to the followers of Jesus at Corinth and read by T'Quomas Van Bergen.

Dear Brothers and sisters:
As a body is one, though it has many parts,
and all the parts of the body, though many,
are one body, so also Christ.
For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body,
whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons,
and we were all given to drink of one Spirit.
Now the body is not a single part, but many.
You are Christ’s body, and individually parts of it.

These are the inspired words of Paul, disciple of Jesus.

Alleluia: (Sung)

Presider 1: Our Third reading is from the Gospel of Luke read by Andrea Lopez

Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had grown up,
and went according to his custom
into the synagogue on the Sabbath day.
He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah.
He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:
The Spirit of the Holy One is upon me,
and has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor,
to proclaim liberty to captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Holy One.
Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down,
and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him.
He said to them,
“Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”

These are the inspired words of Luke, disciple of Jesus.



Reception of the Child

Presider 2: I invite Kellie, T’Quomas and Enzo to stand with Enzo’s Godparents Earl and Cathy.

Presider 1: (to the parents) Kellie and T’Quomas, what do you ask of this Christian Community?

Kellie and T’Quomas: We ask that our son Enzo be welcomed into the Christian community through the sacrament of Baptism.

Presider 2: By asking for Baptism within the Christian community, you are promising to teach Enzo to live justly, to love tenderly and to walk with integrity for all to see and celebrate. You are promising to teach him about his brother, Jesus and his message of love.  Do you promise to do this to the best of your ability?

Kellie and T’Quomas: We do.

Presider 1: (to the godparents) Earl and Cathy, do you promise to help Kellie and T’Quomas as they teach Enzo about the Source of All Life and about Jesus, our brother?

Godparents: We do.

Baptismal Ritual

Presider 1: In our ritual today, we use many sacramental symbols and signs. We now begin the baptismal ritual with a blessing of the water and the oil.

Kellie: O Holy One, Source of all that is, we experience your grace through sacramental signs, which tell us of your unseen presence.

T”Quomas: At the dawn of creation, Your Spirit breathed on the waters making them the wellspring of all holiness.

Godparent 1 (Earl): The water of the Red Sea, through which our ancestors traveled, is a symbol of our liberation from all that holds us captive. In the waters of the Jordan River, our brother Jesus was baptized by his cousin, John, and anointed with your Spirit.

Godparent 2 (Cathy): After the resurrection, the disciples of Jesus celebrated baptism in water and the Spirit with those who answered Your call to holiness.

Kellie: From age to age, oil has been used to anoint the priests, prophets, leaders and visionaries.

Presider 2: (to all present)  Please extend your hands in blessing the water and oil .
O Holy One, you call us to be co-creators of a world filled with blessing and abundance. As co-creators with you, we bless this water and oil as a symbol of your grace filled presence in our community.  (pause)

Baptismal Promises
(Each person is invited to light a candle and place it on the table by baptismal font.)

Presider 1: In this part of the baptismal ritual, Kellie and T’Quomas make baptismal promises for Enzo. I invite everyone to renew their baptismal promises and respond “I do” to each of the following:

Do you promise to see what is good for your sisters and brothers everywhere, rejecting injustice and inequity, living with the freedom and responsibility of children of God?

All: I do.

Presider 2: Do you promise to work for the realization of God’s vision of harmony and right relations among all peoples, rejecting the idols of money, property, color, sex and position?

All: I do.

Presider 1:
Do you promise to seek peace and live in peace in one human family, rejecting prejudice and half-heartedness in every form, and all barriers to unity?

All: I do.

Presider 2:
Do you promise to cherish the universe, and this precious planet, working creatively to renew and safeguard the elemental sacraments of air, earth, water and fire?

All: I do.

Presider 1:
Do you believe in God, the Source of all life, in Jesus, our brother who loved and lived among us so that all might live with abundant fullness; in the breath of God’s center, the Spirit who continues the work of forgiveness and reconciliation, birthing and blessing, challenge and hope, so that together we can continue the work of creation?

All: I do.

Presider 2: Kellie, T’Quomas, Cathie and Earl, please bring Enzo to the baptismal font.

Pouring of Water

Presider 1: (As T’Quomas pours water over Enzo’s head)
We baptize you, Enzo
-        in the name of our God who is the Source of all life,
-        in the name of our God revealed in our own humanity,
-        in the name of our God whose Spirit invites and inspires us as co-creators. Amen.

Anointing with Oil

Presider 2: (As Kellie anoints Enzo’s forehead)
Enzo, you were conceived in love and welcomed to life with love. We anoint you with this oil in recognition that human love is sacred, that you are sacred.

Presentation of Stole

Presider 1: (as Earl places stole on Enzo) Enzo, we present you with this stole. May it remind you that you carry in the depths of your being the Spirit of Life and Love itself. 

Lighting Candle

Presider 2: (as Cathy lights Enzo’s candle from the community’s candles) Enzo, may this candle remind you of Jesus, who opened peoples’ minds and hearts to see the “light” of God’s presence within them.

Presentation of Child to Community

Presider 1: (Kellie and T’Quomas lift Enzo and present him to the community) It is with great joy that we welcome Enzo Knox Van Bergen to the Christian Community.


Presider 2: As we prepare for the sacred meal, we bring to the table our blessings, cares, and concerns. (at conclusion) Presider:  With love and gratitude we pray for these concerns and those which remain unspoken.  Amen.

Presider 1:  O Holy One, you have been called by many names by many people in the centuries of our planet’s life. Yet, no name truly defines you or describes you. We celebrate you as the marvelous, loving energy of life who caused us and our world to be. We celebrate you as the Source of light and life and love, and we celebrate your presence and all-ways care.

Presider 2: Please join in praying the Eucharistic prayer together. 

All: God beyond our words, God of every simple truth, God of each and all of us, we gather to give thanks.  We open our awareness to the goodness of all of creation, to remember our responsibility to serve. 

We open this circle to the memory of all those who have gone before us, and joined with all that is alive, we lift up our lives and sing: Holy, Holy, Holy (Karen Drucker)

We thank you for our brother, Jesus. He showed us so simply, so tenderly, how the world is in our hands. He had nothing in this world but your love, companions on the journey, and his very self. Together, that was more than enough, and that remains our clarity in the midst of confusion: the miracle of healing, new hope, nurturance, nourishment, liberation and life.

On the night before he faced his own death and for the sake of living fully, Jesus sat at the Seder supper with his companions and friends.  He reminded them of all that he taught them, and to fix that memory clearly within them, he bent down and washed their feet.
Presider 1: Please extend your hands in blessing over these gifts

Presider 1 lifts the bread as community prays the following:

Back at the table, Jesus took the Passover Bread, spoke the grace, broke the bread and offered it to them saying,

Take and eat, this is my very self. (Pause)

Presider 2 lifts the wine as community prays the following:

Then he took the cup of blessing, spoke the grace, and offered it to them saying:
Take and drink of the covenant
Made new again through my life
Poured out for you and for everyone, that you might really be free. Whenever you remember me like this,   I am among you.

O Holy One, we are grateful for the gift of your Spirit, always inviting us to be co-creators with you.  And like Jesus . . .

Standing where he stood,
and for what he stood,
and with whom he stood,
we are united in your Spirit,
and worship you with our lives,


Presider 1: Let us pray together the prayer of Jesus:

O Holy One, who is within, we celebrate your many names. Your wisdom come. Your will be done, unfolding from the depths within us. Each day you give us all that we need. You remind us of our limits, and we let go. You support us in our power, and we act with courage. For you are the dwelling place within us, the empowerment around us, and the celebration among us, now and forever. Amen.
The Prayer of Jesus as interpreted by Miriam Therese Winter

Presider 2: Please join in our prayer for the breaking of the bread:

All:   Loving God, You call us to live the Gospel of peace and justice.  We will live justly.  
Loving God, You call us to be Your presence in the world.  We will love tenderly
Loving God, You call us to speak truth to power.  We will walk with integrity in your presence.

Presider 1: Let us pray our communion prayer together. (Presiders hold up bread and wine)

All:  What we have heard with our ears, we will live with our lives; as we share communion, we will become communion, both Love’s nourishment and Love’s challenge.

Presider 2: Our Eucharistic celebration is all inclusive. You are one with the Divine and nothing can separate you from God’s love. All are welcome to receive at this friendship table.

Please join in singing our communion song: We Are Called


Presider 1:  May we continue to be the face of God to each other.  May we call each other to extravagant generosity!  May our light shine for all to see, and may our name be a blessing in our time!

All: AMEN                              

Presider 1: Please join in our closing song, Forever Young, and then share a sign of peace.

Closing Song:   Forever Young

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