Getting child baptized; Devotion to St. Expeditus



Question: I have been a non-practicing Catholic, but I am sending my child to a Catholic school. She is now 4 years old and wants to be baptized, and I want this for her, too. My desire is to return to church practice, have her baptized and bring her up as a Catholic. But because I have not been attending a church, I cannot find a parish that will baptize her.

Recently I was asked to fill out a form whereby the pastor of my previous parish would sign per- mission for her to be baptized in the parish that we will now be attending. I have no idea how to proceed and am hoping that you can advise me. (Austin, Texas)

Answer: It surprises me that you have been unable to find a parish willing to baptize your daughter — especially given your willingness to return to church practice yourself and thus serve as an example for your child. As a parish priest myself, I would be delighted to welcome to the sacraments someone with a similar story.

If the parish that you now wish to attend is requiring your former pastor to submit a letter of approval, by all means you should try to make that happen. But first, if I were you, I would telephone (or, even better, visit) that former pastor and explain your situation.

Make sure that he understands your deep desire to have your daughter baptized and your own intention to return to regular church attendance and ask him if he would be comfortable in vouching for you.

Question: As a Catholic, I am very devoted to St. Expeditus. I have tried to look for a Catholic parish named for this saint, but I have been unable to find one in the United States. I am asking you humbly to request of my archdiocese that they open a parish with the name St. Expeditus so that many of us devotees can go there and put flowers and light candles in his honor.

Also, if it be God’s will, would you consider placing a statue of St. Expeditus in your own parish church? There is such a statue in Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in New Orleans. (City and state of origin withheld)

Answer: This question is indicative of the ardent devotion some Catholics have to particular saints of which little may be known historically. St. Expeditus (or Expedite) is generally thought to have been a Roman centurion who was martyred for his Christian faith about the year A.D. 303 in what is now Turkey.

Devotion to the saint seems to have only started much later, and there is some doubt about his existence.

As for the statue in the New Orleans church, one story (perhaps legendary) is that in the 1920s Catholic nuns at Our Lady of Guadalupe on Rampart Street received a crate marked “expedite;” inside was contained an otherwise unidentified statue of a Roman soldier, whom the nuns dubbed “St. Expedite,” and that statue now stands near the entrance to the church where it draws prayers from those seeking rapid intervention.

Fortunately, our letter writer chose not to identify his or her archdiocese, so I am absolved from having to intervene on behalf of a church in St. Expeditus’ honor. That saint may or may not have an historical basis, but I don’t think it hurts for someone to invoke his help.

Questions may be sent to Father Kenneth Doyle at askfat[email protected] and 30 Columbia Circle Dr., Albany, NY 12203.