Last night was another one of those "oasis in the desert" experiences I've had from time to time in my life. We went to our new small group and had a wonderful time. We shared dinner, the kids played marvelously all together, and the study itself was rich, too. The Diocese put out a booklet for the small groups to kick off during Easter Season, and it's packed with scripture reading, prayer, reflection, and goals for the group. The booklet highlights the goals from the United Nations Millennium Campaign and includes ideas to help us participate in achieving it. It looks overwhelming to me but hopeful at the same time. Goal 1: Eradicate hunger and Extreme Poverty by 2015 by reducing by half the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day. I will say it's the most outward-focused and ambitious thing of this sort I've seen in church. It's the same campaign Bono from U2 is involved in, just in case celebrity endorsement floats your boat. You can check out the website here: http://www.millenniumcampaign.org/site/pp.asp?c=grKVL2NLE&b=138312
I really liked having a Catholic small-group experience. I admit I still hear the Protestant protest to things go off in the back of my head, but it's nice to realize the protest isn't rooted in scripture - just prejudice from a different experience.
This morning we arrived bright and early for the baptism we were invited to. It was special. Joseph and Cayna (and I) had lots of questions and eagerly watched the whole ceremony. The family included all their guests and we were even asked to pose in the "church family" photo. Father David did a stupendous job explaining why the church does infant baptism and what it means. He even went so far as to share why other Christian churches don't do infant baptisms, which I thought was interesting. There were three babies baptized - and eight in the Spanish-speaking ceremony one hour later - and I thought Father left them well-armed with the knowledge of what they were participating in. I appreciate that.
I've been to very few baptisms where I don't tear up, and this one was no exception. Watching him pour water on that 4 week-old baby's head and speak the words to go with it made me feel very reverent and blessed to know God. Plus, the godmother held the baby, and the symbolism of that touches my heart pretty deeply, too. The whole thing was cool.