Catholic Baptismal Liturgy Edited for Baptism of Orlando Lehnerd-Reilly



Orlando immediately following his baptism (without a tear)
Mike holds up Orlando following the baby’s baptism

Incorporation into “The Body of Christ”
“Nomen est Omen”

The Celebrated: Orlando Peter Lehnerd-Reilly


–          Maggie and Kerry Lehnerd-Reilly (Parents)

–          MC: Peggy Rivage-Seul (Orlando’s Grandmother)

–          Baptizer: Mike Rivage-Seul (Orlando’s Grandfather)

–          Godparents: Katy Fagan (Orlando’s Great Aunt) and Brendan Rivage-Seul (Orlando’s Uncle)

–          Prayers of the Faithful: Carla Perusquia Torres (Orlando’s Au Pair)

–          Relatives and Friends of Orlando Peter



Music: “Down to the River To Pray”

 As I went down in the river to pray

Studying about that good old way

And who shall wear the starry crown

Good Lord, show me the way !

O, sisters let’s go down

Let’s go down, come on down,

O sisters let’s go down

Down in the river to pray.

As I went down in the river to pray

Studying about that good old way

And who shall wear the robe and crown

Good Lord, show me the way !

O, brothers let’s go down. . .starry crown
O, fathers let’s go down. . .robe and crown

O, mothers let’s go down. . .starry crown

O, Orlando let’s go down . . .robe and crown

Peggy:  Welcome, everyone, to this beautiful occasion – the incorporation of yet another member into the Community of Faith we call “The Body of Christ!” We have come together to welcome into our midst little Orlando Peter Lehnerd-Reilly whose parents, Maggie and Kerry, have expressed the desire to raise as a follower of Jesus of Nazareth. Let me begin by asking the traditional questions. . .Maggie and Kerry, why have you come here today?

Maggie:   We have come to have our son baptized.

Peggy:                         And what is the name you wish to give your son?

Maggie:                       His first name is Orlando.

Kerry:                          And his middle name is Peter, after Orlando’s Grandpa Peter, (and also after one of his sister’s favorite  literary characters, Peter Pan).  

Peggy:                         We are so happy that you have come to have your son baptized. Remember that by doing so you are pledging to train him in the practice of the faith we all share. It will be your duty not simply to teach him in words, but more importantly by your personal example of loving God, each other and his people – especially the poor. Do you clearly understand what you are undertaking?

Maggie & Kerry:         We do

Peggy (to the Godparents):     And are you, Katy and Brendan,  ready to help Maggie and Kerry in their duty as Christian parents?

Katy and Brendan:     We are.

Peggy:                         Orlando Peter, the Christian community welcomes you with great joy. In its name, I claim you for Christ our Savior by the sign of his cross. I now trace the cross on your forehead, and invite your parents and godparents to do the same. Now to set the tone for this holy gathering, please join me in listening to the scriptural account of Jesus’ own baptism.


Liturgy of the Word

Mike (Orlando’s Baba): A reading from the Gospel of Mark. (1:9-15)

Brief Reflections: “Orlando and the Kingdom of God”

Music: “Come to the Water”

Oh let all who thirst, let them come to the water
And let all who have nothing, let them come to the Lord
Without money, without price
Why should you pay the price? Except for the Lord

And let all who seek, let them come to the water
And let all who have nothing, let them come to the Lord
Without money, without strife
Why should you spend your life? Except for the Lord

And let all who toil, let them come to the water
And let all who are weary, let them come to the Lord
All who labor, without rest
How can your soul find rest? Except for the Lord

And let all the poor, let them come to the water
Bring the ones who are laden, bring them all to the Lord
Bring the children, without might
Easy the load and light. Come to the Lord


Prayers of the Faithful


Let us pray in thanksgiving for Orlando Peter whose presence reminds us of our own prophetic calling to live in innocence, gentleness, openness, love, and commitment to peace and justice. Let us pray to the Lord

Let us pray for Orlando’s parents, Maggie and Kerry, that they may grow in their own faith, and share that faith generously with Orlando Peter by word and example. Let us pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for Orlando’s sister, Ineva Kathryn , that she may continue to be a good big sister always setting a loving example for her brother. Let us pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for Orlando’s brother, Oscar Michael, that he may grow into his special name, and lead a life in the example of Oscar Romero. Let us pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for peace in the world, and for the end of war, particularly in Afghanistan, where Orlando’s godfather, Uncle Brendan, will be working next year. Let us pray to the Lord.

And for what else shall we pray? (Pause for spontaneous prayer from the community)

 Peggy: God, our Mother and Father, hear our prayers. Make us all faithful followers of your Son, Jesus, the Christ. Pour out his Spirit of justice, peace and love on little Orlando Peter. May his life make a difference in this world. May he be courageous and strong in the expression of his faith just as were the great heroines and heroes of the faith we now invoke:

 Holy Mary, Mother of God:

All: Pray for us!

St. Joseph, Protector of Jesus and Mary:

All: Pray for us!

St. Francis of Assisi, father of environmentalism:

All: Pray for us!

St. Clare, loving companion of St. Francis:

All: Pray for us!

Martin Luther King, tireless worker for racial justice:

All: Pray for us!

Mahatma Gandhi, “Great Soul” and liberator of millions from colonialism:

All: Pray for us!

Oscar Romero, martyred bishop of El Salvador, patron of liberation theology:

All: Pray for us!

Dorothy Day, companion of the poor, founder of the Catholic Worker:

All: Pray for us!

Caesar Chavez, hero of the United Farm Workers and of the Hispanic community:

All: Pray for us!

All you holy saints of God who worked for justice and peace

All: Pray for us!


Baptism: Incorporation into the “Body of Christ”

Mike: The time has come to incorporate Orlando into the Body of Christ. This beautiful rite makes him an official member of our Community of Faith. Before proceeding, however, we’re asked to recall what our faith means. So please join me in this profession of faith. Everyone, please respond:

Do you renounce the Spirit of the World with its greed, lust, anger, fear, violence and war?

All: We do.

Do you recognize that the promises of the world in its selfishness, advertising, consumerism, and prejudices are empty and lead to death of the Spirit rather than to the fullness of life?

All: We do.

Do you reject then the spirit of the World, its grasping, consumerism, selfishness and wars?

All: We do.

Do you choose instead to follow Christ who healed the sick, fed the hungry, visited the imprisoned, and whose life brought good news to the poor and outcast?

All: We do.

Do you promise to do so, even if it brings you to the same end as Jesus, death at the hands of Empire and of those who falsely thought they were serving God?

All: We do.

Do you believe in God, the Mother and Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth?

All: We do.

Mike:   Let us then profess the faith we share:

 All:      We believe in humankind

            And in a world, in which

            There is room for everyone,

            And that it is our task to create

            Such a world.

            We believe in equal rights for all people,

            In love, justice, brotherhood and peace.

            We must continually act out these beliefs.

            We are inspired to do so, because we believe

            In Jesus of Nazareth.

            And we wish to model our lives on his.

            In doing so, we believe that we

            Are drawn into the mysterious relationship

            With the One, whom Jesus called his Father.

            Because of our belief in Jesus,

            We make no claims to exclusivity;

            We shall work together with others

            For a better world.

            We believe in the community of the faithful,

            And in our task to be the salt of the earth

            And the light of the world.

            But all of this in humility,

            Carrying our cross every day.

            And we believe in the resurrection

            Whatever it may mean.


Mike: This is our faith. This is the faith of the Church. We are proud to profess it, in Christ Jesus our Lord.

All: Amen.

Mike (to Maggie & Kerry): Is it your will that Orlando Peter be baptized in the faith of the Church, which we have all professed with you?

Maggie & Kerry: It is.

Mike: Orlando Peter Lehnerd-Reilly, I baptize you in the name of the Father,

            And of the Son

            And of the Holy Spirit

 Music:             “We Remember”

                        We remember how you loved us

                        To your death

                        And still we celebrate for you are with us still.

                        And we believe that we will see you

                        When you come in your glory, Lord.

                        We remember. We celebrate. We believe.

Mike:   Everyone, please give your blessing to Orlando as we pass among you while we sing “Sabbath Prayer.”

Music:             “Sabbath Prayer”

May the Lord protect and defend you

May he always shield you from shame

May you come to be among us all a shining name

May you be like Peter the apostle

May you be deserving of praise

Strengthen him O Lord and keep him from the stranger’s ways

(bridge) May God bless you and grant you a long life

May the Lord fulfill our Sabbath prayer for you

May God make you a good follower of Christ

May he send you teachers who will care for you

May the Lord protect and defend you

May the Lord preserve you from pain

Favor him o lord with happiness and peace

O hear our Sabbath prayer, Amen


Final Affirmation of Original Goodness and Light

Anointing after Baptism:

Peggy: Orlando Peter, you have been welcomed into our community of faith. We are enriched by the presence of your Original Goodness. We recognize and accept our call to recover our own innocence as gentle, open, and loving creatures like you. As you grow, we pledge to help you preserve and live out your goodness despite the temptations and deceits of the consumer culture that would shape you by its selfishness and greed. We pray that all of us may be faithful followers of Jesus who lived for others rather than for himself. This anointing reminds us of our call – of your call – to own your power as Priest, Prophet, and Leader in your new community of faith.

All:      Amen

Peggy: Anoints Orlando.

Clothing with the White Garment

 Peggy: Orlando Peter, we now clothe you in this white garment that was worn by your grandfather, Peter, whose name you bear. Recognize this garment as an outward sign of the goodness of God’s presence within you. With your mother, father, family, and friends to help you by word and example, may you continue to manifest that presence in everything you say and do.

All: Amen.

Lighted Candle

Peggy: (After lighting baptismal candle, she hands it to Katy and Brendan) Katy and Brendan, receive the light of Christ on behalf of your godson. I give it to you with the prayer that Orlando might be a light to our world, just as Jesus was. Please help him keep the candle of his faith, love, and good works burning gently and (when necessary) fiercely for the benefit of all.

Peggy: (Hands the candle to Katy) Receive this candle for Orlando.

Katy: May Orlando and all of us be a light to the world!

Peggy: (Takes the candle from Katy and gives it to Brendan.) Receive this candle for Orlando.

Brendan: May Orlando and all of us be a light to the world! (He returns the candle to Peggy)



Peggy: My dear friends, our celebration is ended. Let us go now to love and serve one another and the world.

All:      Thanks be to God.

 Music: “This Little Light Of Mine”


This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine (3xs)

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!

 I’m going to take this light around the world, and I’m gonna let it shine. .

I won’t let anyone (blow) it out. .

Every day, every day, I’m gonna let my little light shine!

Published by

Mike Rivage-Seul's Blog

Emeritus professor of Peace & Social Justice Studies. Liberation theologian. Activist. Former R.C. priest. Married for 45 years. Three grown children. Six grandchildren.

2 thoughts on “Catholic Baptismal Liturgy Edited for Baptism of Orlando Lehnerd-Reilly”

  1. I am so sorry to have missed this beautiful and sacred celebration! We would have loved being there with you and to have been able to participate in such a joyful welcoming. Much love to Maggie and Kerry, to Ava and Oscar ~ and hugs and kisses to Orlando!
    Peggy and Mike, this was really beautiful!!!


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