Thursday, October 15, 2009



At Baptism, bishop welcomes 12th child into his Catholic Church family

Special to the Standard

Returning to the site where they wed just over 20 years ago, Rob and Cecilia "Sam" entered the historic chapel at Sacred Heart Parish in Bowie to celebrate the Baptism of their 12th child, Kolbe Peter on Oct. 3.

Washington Auxiliary Bishop Martin Holley baptized the baby with assistance from three seminarians - including Joshua , Kolbe's older brother. After the sacrament, the bishop gently lifted the 18-day-old infant and presented him to family members and friends gathered in the chapel. Bishop Holley then announced, "Kolbe Peter, you are now baptized and initiated into the Catholic Church."

Earlier the prelate told participants through the beautiful sacrament of marriage, Kolbe's parents became co-creators with God - and the new baby is a "product of that love," Bishop Holley added.

"Out of the sacrament of marriage is born all the other sacraments," Bishop Holley later said. "The graces from (his parents') marriage continues to be perpetuated in the life of this young boy - who will eventually make a decision of his own life," whether that choice be marriage, a vocation to the religious life or a faithful lay person.

As the eighth of 14 children, Bishop Holley seemed right at home in front of the family. A large family teaches you Gospel truths, Bishop Holley noted. Children learn about God's love through their parents - their first teachers. Later, children are taught how to love their neighbors by learning to love their siblings. "We often refer to the family as the 'domestic church,'" Bishop Holley told the Catholic Standard.

He pointed out the younger children in the family who were gathered around their older siblings and parents watching them intently. "All eyes are looking at their parents," Bishop Holley said. "The graces that come from marriages, are important for society, and so important for the continuation of the Church," Bishop Holley said. "Marriage gives life to all the other sacraments."
Family friend Peter called the Baptism "a beautiful witness to the faith." Peter, who also serves as the director of the archdiocesan Office of Family Life, said they witnesses to God's love and the joy of life in their everyday lives. "They are a large family, but are selfless and generous to others around them. They are the ones helping the community," he added. "That is what family is all about."

Seminarian Daniel said he was happy to be asked to assist the bishop during the Baptism. "It was definitely a look into my future ministry," Daniel said. "I love kids." The young student called the family "a witness of authentic happiness." Seminarian Andrew also said "it was great to be able to participate in bringing a new member into the Church."

Joshua received special permission to return home for the Baptism. The oldest son in the family, Joshua is currently a seminarian for the Legionaries of Christ. "We went over Baptism in class" he said, but he never thought he would be invited to assist the bishop with his brother's Baptism. Joshua credited his large family with teaching him the skills needed to live in a religious community. "My mom helped a lot - she created a good environment, praying the Rosary, attending daily Mass."

His mother, Sam, who was still recovering from complications after her first C-section delivery, said planning the Baptism gave her something special to look forward to and watching Joshua help out was "icing on the cake."

All of her previous 11 children had been baptized at Sacred Heart in the same chapel where Archbishop John Carroll was elected in 1788 as the first Catholic bishop in the United States. Sam said she began thinking about the possibility of inviting a bishop for the new baby's Baptism several months before his birth. A friend from another diocese suggested the custom of a bishop celebrating the sacrament for the 12th member of a family. So although she had never heard of such a tradition, Sam spoke with her pastor, Msgr. Charles, who helped arrange the event. Bishop Holley "was so gentle, so personable," Sam said.

The mother said her prayers for the newest member of the family are the same as all her children. "Just that he'll grow up loving the Church - loving his family, that he'll love his faith as much as his brothers and sisters do." Sam paused and added, "That's every parent's wish for their children - that they'll always keep the faith."

Kolbe Peter born Sept. 15 joined his excited siblings Alexandria, 19; Joshua, 18; Caleb, 16; Elizabeth, 15; Barbara, 13; Joseph, 11; Robert, 9; Dominic, 7; Mary, 6; Cecilia, 3; and Eric, 2. His older siblings, Caleb and Elizabeth were chosen as to be his godparents.

"My heart was bursting," Sam said, "my favorite thing was having them all together."



Rob said...

I want to know why they used quotes from you, Josh, the bishop and assorted others but the author left out all my quotes I gave to her:

“I love the smell of baptism in the morning”

"Play it, Sam. Play 'As Time Goes By.'"

"As God is my witness, as God is my witness, they're not going to lick me! I'm going to live through this, and when it's all over, I'll never be hungry again - no, nor any of my folks! If I have to lie, steal, cheat, or kill! As God is my witness, I'll never be hungry again."

"Surely you can't be serious."
- "I am serious. And don't call me Shirley."

“me Tarzan, you Jane”

Maurisa said...

What a lovely article! What a privilege to have been there with you all. It was truly beautiful and enjoyable, despite Rob's presence.

Party of Eight said...

First of all, what a wonderful article! The quotes from the Bishop and from you, Sam, were beautiful. Second of all, Rob, you made me laugh with all of your quotes. Yeah, they kinda left you out, huh? I guess when you told baby Kolbe to "Be the ball", maybe it wasn't appropriate for a Catholic newspaper :))) Love it! Congratulations to you and your family!!!

momto5minnies said...

What a wonderful article!

Rob said...

Maurisa - what's with all the hate towards me? If i had any feelings they would be hurt! I take back any nice things I ever said about your hair :P

Par-Tay of 8 - who I like. You should have come to the baptism instead of that meanie Maurisa

Katie said...

Pete noticed the same thing.

"Why no comments from Rob?"