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Tabitha’s Baptism

Tabitha was baptized by the Archbishop of Mt. Hagen, Douglas Young, SVD, on June 6, in Good Shepherd’s chapel.

Our friends Jim and Kathy Radcliffe came from Kudjip to the service and were kind enough to take some pictures for us.

“What do you ask of God’s church for your child?” “Baptism!”

To the left are our proxy godparents, the wasmama and waspapa as we say in Tok Pisin: Br. Benjamin Aska, the computer lecturer, and Anna Ding, our neighbor. In the center is Anastasia, proudly wearing her crown from preschool that morning. The crown reads “Happy World Environment Day Ms. Hippopotamus”. (More on her preschool in another blog post.) We had Acts chapter 9, the story of Tabitha, as the first reading.

“We anoint you with the oil of salvation in the name of Christ our Savior; may he strengthen you with his power, who lives and reigns forever and ever.”

After the exorcism, Tabitha receives the oil of catechumens, followed by a lovely prayer blessing the “baptismal fount” (an enameled bowl painted with blue flowers) reciting the role of water in salvation history, and the public renuncation of sin and the profession of faith. Then, the sacrament itself:

“In the name of the Father… and of the Son… and of the Holy Spirit.”

Before the service, we were standing outside the church waiting to process in. The Archbishop started talking to Tabitha, who has only just started to smile and gurgle. He instructed her not to cry when the water was poured on her head, and she responded with a hearty “goog!” … And she listened!

I love this picture.

Anointed with the chrism of salvation and clothed in her white garment!

I managed to leave the beautiful baptismal gown that my mother made for Anastasia in the US (argh!) but managed to fashion one here (involving cutting up a thrifted pillowcase and repurposing the lace border).

“This child of yours has been enlightened by Christ. She is to walk always as a child of the light. May she keep the flame of faith alive in her heart. When the Lord comes, may she go out to met him with all the saints in the heavenly kingdom.”

The mass also commemorated the end of the first semester of 2014, the end of the weeklong Young Priests’ Retreat held on our campus, and the departure of our Vice-Rector, Fr. Michael Wiame, for further studies in Rome. With all these reasons to celebrate, we had a pig roast afterwards- a mumu, cooked in an earth oven with root vegetables and ferns. (Anastasia is surprisingly fond of ferns. She kept stealing them off of nearby plates.)

Cuddling with the Archbishop during the speeches

(The bowl next to him contains the pig’s head, a customary gift to an honored guest. The plate in front of him has been thoroughly cleaned of Brandon’s chili con carne, our contribution to the feast.) Bishop Young was quite attached to holding her– he tried to get out of his own speech-making duties by exclaiming “But my hands are full!”

It was a wonderful day, and we wish our families and many more of our friends could have been there to share it.



  1. Rebecca says:

    So beautiful! What a special day. I love watching you raise this baby so integrated into your new context. (And I can’t believe you repurposed a pillowcase for that little gown. Amazing.)


  2. […] as I mentioned earlier, has started […]



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