By RUTH MALLORY, Special to the Bulletin | Published November 27, 2017
SANDY SPRINGS—Participating in God’s sacraments is one of the beautiful blessings enjoyed as Catholics, and sharing those sacraments with family and friends is a tenet of the faith.
The students of St. Jude the Apostle School in Sandy Springs were privileged to participate in the sacrament of baptism Oct. 27 when the school’s physical education teacher Chris Fason and his wife, Megan, chose to have their infant daughter, Andrea Grace “Andie,” baptized at a school Mass. It was the first baptism many of the students had ever witnessed. Msgr. Joseph Corbett, pastor, ensured that the children understood what every detail of this gateway sacrament of initiation meant.
Toward the beginning of Mass, Msgr. Corbett went to the first pew, filled with family members and the godparent, for the anointing of the baby. After the oil of the catechumens was applied to Andie’s chest with the sign of the cross, Msgr. Corbett enlightened the students on how oil is a sign of strength and how Andie, strengthened by the gift of God’s spirit, would now be guided and guarded by God on every step of life’s journey.
Following the specially selected readings for the Mass, Msgr. Corbett explained the visible signs of the sacrament—how water was created to cleanse and give life, and how baptismal water would cleanse Andie from original sin in a new birth to innocence by water and the spirit. He then invited the family to the baptismal font for the pouring of the waters.
After Andie was baptized, her godmother, Debbie Molnar, lit the baptismal candle from the flame of the paschal candle—another visible symbol of the light of Christ. Molnar is the art teacher at St. Jude.
Msgr. Corbett then instructed the parents and godparent to keep the light of Christ burning brightly and the flame of faith alive in Andie’s heart. He described how the church wraps new members in a white garment, symbolic of Jesus’ light, and how Andie, dressed in white, was wearing a visible sign of Jesus’ light and life now present within her.
The Mass concluded, and the family was invited forward for a special blessing upon the parents of the child.
Before the recessional, Coach Fason held Andie up for the students to see, to which Msgr. Corbett commented, “That was Coach’s ‘Lion King’ moment.”
The Fasons have three other daughters; one is a student at St. Jude and two are enrolled at Blessed Trinity High School. He has been a member of the St. Jude faculty for 11 years, and his wife previously worked at St. Jude Preschool.
A second-grade teacher celebrated her wedding at a school Mass last year. And with Coach Fason and his wife sharing the baptism of Andie with the school community this year, and her godmother being a teacher at the school, it is obvious why the parents, students, faculty and staff of St. Jude describe themselves as “family.”