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Celebrate it ‘like a birthday’

By Darcy L. Fargo

Darcy Fargo

January 17, 2024

I laughed when I saw the story summary below a headline in a collection of news stories that came into my email.

“The pope said Jan. 7 that the anniversary of one’s baptism should be celebrated each year ‘like a birthday,’” the summary said.

It doesn’t seem very funny to anyone but me. So, why did I laugh? My birthday and baptism were on the same day. That day? Jan. 7.

I didn’t know that until a couple years ago, when my parents found my baptismal certificate while sorting through old documents and presented it to me. If you had asked me before that, I would’ve told you I’d been baptized by our parish priest at St. Joseph’s in Bombay, Msgr. Clarence Devan, a few months after my twin sister and I were born. I think I recall seeing photos.

When my twin sister and I were born, my sister had significant respiratory issues. Medical providers weren’t sure she’d live. I knew she was baptized the day we were born because of the circumstances. While it seems obvious, it never occurred to me that I was also baptized that day. Again, I’d seen pictures of a ceremony in a church.

It’s obvious to me now, though, that my twin sister and I were a package deal, and we were both baptized at the hospital shortly after birth by Father Donald Robinson, who was then newly ordained and serving as parochial vicar in Malone.

While there are parts of aging that I don’t love, I celebrate Jan. 7. I celebrate that I’m alive. I celebrate the life of my amazing twin sister, who will forever be my better half. I celebrate the fact that my parents chose to give me the gift of life and the gift of baptism, making me part of two families I love dearly – my biological family and my Church family. I celebrate the fact that God somehow kept drawing me to Him and keeps drawing me to Him, sometimes despite my best efforts (I was a bit of a rebel in my teen/young adult years).

So, I think I’ll keep celebrating my baptism like it’s my birthday. And I’ll enjoy the fact that there’s finally a directive from a spiritual guide that I don’t find difficult.

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