- Jennifer Wheeler
Baptism and the Pearls of Life
Because today is the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord, it's fitting to share an article from Verbum, the Swedish publishers and curators of the Pearls of Life. These excerpts are from an interview with Sandra Signarsdotter, a chaplain in the parish of Gustav Vasa (Sweden).
"In the conversation about baptism, it is natural to start from the Wreath of the Savior [Pearls of Life] when talking about baptism. When I bring out the Little Savior's Wreath , the one that is made to fit the child's wrist, the child gets something exciting to look at. I catch the child's attention while I have the parents' ears.
"You can begin the conversation with what fits right there and then in the room. Is this a first child? Use the Love Pearls or I Pearl to talk about how life has become something new when you have your first child.
"If instead the conversation was about how tough it is, that the parents are never allowed to sleep, that the child has colic - which my own daughter had for four months and I was losing my mind - I can instead start with the Desert Pearl and end in the Pearls of Silence. For me as a priest, it's about meeting them where they are.
"During the baptismal talk in the baptismal service, I can relate to our conversation about life and then I usually thread the little Savior's wreath over the baptismal candle when I light the candle."
Pastor Signarsdotter also speaks about the possibility (post-Covid) of holding a half-day retreat for parents who have had a child baptized in the recent past:
"When a couple of months have passed, send out an invitation to the parents for a retreat. Do it in all simplicity. Treat them to a sandwich and coffee. Allow some rest. Maybe the organist can play some music. Offer quiet retreat. Many parents of young children are tired. Finish with a devotional with candle lighting where you hand out the Wreath of the Savior and speak from it. Who knows, maybe this can lead to more people being baptized, that we get a group of catechumenates, or more to the church choirs or more volunteers in other church activities."