Max was baptized on the second day of Christmas at Vredeskerk (Our Lady Queen of Peace)church. We started going to church when we arrived here, and it’s a big, old, beautiful Catholic church in our neighborhood. A few small hitches…mostly that everything is in Dutch.
I found the church when we were out walking around one day – I wasn’t even sure if it was Catholic. I found the website, and from what I could translate, they had a family mass every other Sunday. We attempted that first, thinking we could slide in the back and see what it was all about. Upon walking in, we were greeted warmly by Father Pierre Valkering and he personally ushered us to our seats in the side chapel with only a handful of other families. So much for hiding out. The mass was in Dutch, and it was hard to follow along as it was altered for small children. Father Pierre introduced us to everyone in the middle of the service. Eh, who wants to be a wallflower anyway?
We attend the regular mass after that and are able to sit in the back and slip out with Max if we need to. Grayson and Max start getting antsy halfway through, and Grayson offers to take Max out repeatedly. Grayson also doesn’t understand why he can’t have the coffee and treats during mass. The choir is stunning, and people come in and out all throughout mass (often tourists visiting the church).
“First off, turns out Father Pierre is scared of dogs, and apparently our giant 100 pound Bernese who greets with a hug was no exception.”
We asked Father Pierre if he would be willing to baptize Max. We invited him over for dinner, and the only night that worked for him was the first night my Mom and Dad arrived from Montana. The more the merrier?! First off, turns out Father Pierre is scared of dogs, and apparently our giant 100 pound Bernese who greets with a hug was no exception. Dinner went off without too much trouble. Mom reminded me in the knick of time to say grace (not that we don’t always…). Father told us about his trip from Rome, we told him about Max, Montana, our wedding, and we discussed travel and the refugees. Apparently I missed a conversation between my Dad and Father Pierre, because when I came back with dessert, Dad was telling Father to just call him “Raw Hide.” Don’t ask me, but he agreed to baptize Max on the second day of Christmas so all is good. And don’t worry – he signed the guestbook!
We did have to attend a baptism class with other parents (also in Dutch). Grayson misunderstood the ice-breaker and confidently launched into a complete tangent for several minutes before Father could correct him on the topic. We made it through the 2+ hour class and had a slight understanding of how the mass would go. We asked Kara to be Max’s godmother, and she started fulfilling her duties immediately by quickly finding a baptismal gown before flying over.
The baptism was perfect. The church was absolutely beautiful, and they had an English choir singing Christmas songs. Kara shared her own Prayer of the Faithful. Max made it through with only a small outburst before falling asleep in my arms. We followed along in Dutch with the help of the other families. He was baptized with six other children, and with Max, they represented six of the seven continents which is pretty amazing. Max was the youngest by far (they baptize children older here). After mass, we shared coffee and treats with the other families. Our family took Max out for brunch and continued the celebration.
After all was said and done, it couldn’t have been a more perfect day.