When Rorisang informed me of her baby's baptism ceremony in Braamfontein, in the outskirts of central Johannesburg, i just had to grab the opportunity, after all its interior architecture and design of Catholic Churches always fascinated me. Skies were all blue and inviting, it was going to be a fantastic days ,I implored.
Naturally based on their doctrine I discovered that a traditional Catholic baptism ceremony is a complex and ritualistic process that incorporates specifics of the Catholic theology into the official sacrament of baptism. Built upon an array of core theological beliefs that make the christening ceremony of utmost importance to both the infant and the parents involved.This I could tell on how the event was important for Rorisang,her husband ,God parents and all family and friends. There was so much enthusiasm and high spirits coupled with anxiety as well.
I guess anxiety was stemming from the fact that the ceremony is a bit fast paced and me as a photographer I would not be able to capture the whole event in detail.Nevertheless with all my spare batteries fully charged , my Canon Mark IV body and my two 24-70mm F2.8 and 70-200mm F2.8 handy ,I was ready to capture such a momentous event for the family.i was equipped with my Profoto A1 off camera flash as well.I was ready as always.Such calibre of trustworthy equipment has never failed me, hence I travel to any event in total confidence.
A Catholic baptism ceremony is, indeed, a ceremony. There is an entire process that takes place during the course of the infant's baptism, which typically takes about 20 to 30 minutes and its serious business if you known what I mean lol. This is not a full immersion into water but, rather, a sprinkling of water droplets across the forehead. The ceremony is done in a highly liturgical manner that may confuse non-Catholic guests.
So basically it started by parents ,god parents and all standing at the back of the church for a brief appraisal of the flow of events as well as ointment on the forehead.
Reception of the child - The priest greeted the parents and child, heard the name of the child, and made the sign of the cross on the child's head as soon as they stood at the altar.
Celebration of God's word - The priest offered readings and prayers for the child and his or her parents and anointed the child with oil
Above is the baby's parents and god parents listening attentively to the Priest as he is blessing water in preparation for baptism.
Celebration of the Sacrament - The priest blessed the water, asked the parents to renounce sin, and baptized the child with water.
Explanatory rites - The priest anointed the child with oil from his crown, the child was now dressed in a white garment, and godmother had to light a candle to symbolize enlightenment.
Conclusion of the rite - The priest said the Lord's Prayer and blessed the child.The certificate which serves as a record to confirm the baptism ceremony was the issued to the baby's father and he was proud as was every family member and friend who attended the ceremony.
What to Expect at Any Baptism
It was really helpful to understand some of the basic etiquette and the priest explained what to expect during the whole event, and of course as a photographer I was not spared of my limits,previledges and boundaries on the day.
The Role of Godparents
One of the key features of a Catholic baptism is the role of the godparents who are selected by the infant's parents. Godparents play a pivotal role in caring for their godchild's spiritual and physical wellbeing. Both a woman and a man are chosen to fulfill this position in the infant's life, and so a portion of the baptism ceremony will focus on these two select people. However, as expected they were present to witness this occasion and you can tell from their smiles :).
Meaningful and Enjoyable?
If you've been invited to attend a Catholic baptism or are planning one for your own child, understanding the ceremony and the meaning behind baptism symbols can help make the entire ceremony more meaningful and enjoyable. You'll be glad you learned a little more about this special day.
Thank you Rorisang and entire family, I really enjoyed photographing you on this occasion.Oh and the priest loosened up and we had many shoots where he was all smiling and accommodating to everyone.