The Godfather

Yesterday I officially became a godfather to my niece Emma. It didn’t exactly catch me by surprise as this has been three years in the making.

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After Emma’s birth my sister Kasia asked me to be the godfather, but due to us living on two different continents the scheduling itself turned out to be a little more difficult. Dominika, Kasia’s best friend and Emma’s godmother, also lived in Poland, and now in England. On top of all that, Maya, Emma’s sister and Kasia’s second child, was born during this time, making the logistics of a baptism ever more complicated.

Yesterday however, it all came to a very happy finale. Kasia and her husband David, together with both munchkins, arrived in Poland this past week for a baptism and a two weeks’ vacation in Poland. Kasia’s first visit in over eight years, and David’s first visit to Poland, ever.

All of the baptism preparation was done ahead of time by my parents, we simply showed up at the church, child in hand 🙂 The 740 year old church in question has a pretty significant place in our lives. Both of our parents were baptised there, my sister and I were baptized there, Kasia and I received our first communion there as did our parents, and now Emma became the latest generation to receive baptism at this church.

Naturally, baptizing a three year old is a little unusual in Poland. Most children are just a few months old and neither remember nor really know what’s going on during baptism. Emma was very much aware of what was happening, standing tall with her hands together at all times. Even the priest seemed impressed with how calm and cooperating Emma was. Here is this American child, standing for an hour in a really cold stone-build church, with a priest calling out her name every so often in a language she doesn’t really understand that well, then pouring water on her head and crossing her forehead for no reason at all. What a champ!

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Dominika and I did our part as godparents, answering the usual “Yes, we will help raise this child” among other questions. But at the end of the Mass, the priest called both of us up front to ask some questions, supposedly to test how good of godparents we will be. He started off with:

“How many animals did Moses take onto his ark?”
“All of them” Dominika answered to which the priest shook his head.
“Well, a pair of every species” I followed up, to the same shaking response.
“It wasn’t Moses who built the ark” the priest replied with a smile on his face.

The all-family church crowd laughed out loud.

After the Mass we had dinner with family and friends at which Emma got a chance to meet some of her Polish cousins. I would hope that Emma will come to Poland again soon, but I assume that most of the family present at the dinner won’t see Kasia or Emma again for years. Kids, while shy at first and a language barrier too boot, ended up playing together fine, running around for long hours until the end. Most people present have never met David, Kasia’s husband, either, so the evening was full of introductions for everyone.

It was a great day, and now I get to officially begin the role of looking over little Emma, whenever she needs her godfather.

NOTE: For some reason all photos from this event look weird. I am trying to adjust to my new camera but so far it’s not working out. Most photos came out blurry and I either need to learn how to operate this camera better, or get back to a DSLR.

2 thoughts on “The Godfather

  1. My two nieces were not christened until they were 5 and 3 years old respectively. My sister and her husband decided that they would let them decide for themselves whether they wanted to be christened. The service was done by a very friendly and helpful vicar; his main problem was that the youngest was just slightly too small to stand at the font and slightly too big for him to hold the way he would a younger child. Otherwise it was a very nice ceremony.

    I see nothing really wrong with your pictures, other than some depth of field effects – I assume that the camera was adjusting itself for low light situations, so you will see backgrounds out of focus. Serious photographers pay big money for top-end lenses that can achieve that! There was also the odd picture where the edge of the picture isn’t in such sharp focus, but again that’s something that happens with lens design. Designers talk about ‘edge-to-edge’ focus, and again, getting really good edge-to-edge focus comes from big ticket lenses. Most of the time, we don’t notice it anyway. That’s a nice set of pictures of a really memorable family event.

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