The Grace of Baptism

05-01-2016Encountering ChristMary Ann Flood

I grew up in in a predominately Catholic neighborhood in upper Manhattan. My parents were not practicing Catholics; for their own personal reasons they had turned away from the Church. As I reflect back upon my upbringing, I believe my parents, without realizing it, raised my brothers and I according to the Ten Commandments with the exception of 'keeping holy the Sabbath'. All of my friends were Catholic and it was through them that I learned about God and the Catholic Church. They attended Catechism (as it was called then) taught by the nuns.

One day they came back from their lesson distraught. Sister had informed them that in order to go to heaven you must be baptized and I was not. My friends and I were about ten years old. We couldn't imagine being separated from one another, so the logical answer was to baptize me, which took place in the laundry room of our apartment house. We did not realize that this was not how things were done or of the responsibility all of us were taking on, but despite everything, the Baptism took root in my soul. I wanted to know more about God, so I started going to Church. I attended other Churches, but I never felt the closeness to God that I found in the Catholic Church. In high school I began meeting with a priest after Mass on Sundays, who instructed me on being Catholic, I was then baptized conditionally and received my First Communion. The following year I was confirmed and my best friend who first baptized me was my sponsor. Each day I am thankful to God that I was touched by the Holy Spirit.