After five weeks of French classes at ND and one week spent at ND's property at Land O'Lakes, WI, I flew out to L.A. this past weekend to be present for the baptism of Sofia Michele Fernandez, two month old daughter of Geno and Paula Fernandez.
I had only been to the L.A. area once before, in the summer of 1999 when the Notre Dame Folk Choir toured through Arizona and California. The flights were thankfully uneventful, the weather was beautiful, and fun times were had. My dear friend, Fr. Nickolas Becker, O.S.B. was present as well and was the baptizing priest. For this sacrament I was invited to serve as M.C., cantor the litany as we processed from the church doors to the baptismal font, and to also perform the post-baptismal anointing.
The Rite of Baptism was celebrated in the Extraordinary Form (EF) of the Roman Rite using the 1964 English translation by Msgr. Philip Weller of the Rituale romanum. I had seen the EF for baptism celebrated three years ago at St. Augustine's Parish in St. Paul, MN. It is a beautiful rite, filled with multiple blessings with the sign of the cross and exorcisms. However, the rite lacks explicit use of Scripture and makes no reference to the Easter Candle, thus part of the impetus for revision after the Second Vatican Council.
After the baptism at St. Monica's Church, the family hosted a grand party complete with Cuban food. Sunday morning we went back to the parish for Mass celebrated by Fr. David Guffey, CSC. Fr. Guffey was my novice master during my 1999-2000 novitiate year. It was great to see him as well as Fr. Will Raymond, CSC, both of whom live and assist at St. Monica's Parish and work at Family Theater in Hollywood. This Holy Cross apostolate was founded by the Servant of God Patrick Peyton, CSC, whose cause for beatification is progressing along well.
I departed sunny California for humid Arkansas to visit with family for two weeks. By arriving into Little Rock late on Sunday night I was able to go with my sister and her family to Immaculate Conception School for the first day of school for my nephew and niece. The family takes photos with the kids in their uniforms and then goes for a traditional doughnut before heading to the nearby school.
My parents joined us that afternoon for lunch with my brother and his wife at a micro-brewery in downtown Little Rock. And now, I am sitting on my parents' back porch enjoying a cigar, catching up on summer reading, and assisting in my home parish for weekday and weekend Masses. It's great to be home.