A Baptism Celebration: the Chrism, the Party, the Joy!

Baptism day can be spectacular. We’ve had our fair share around here. We poured the chrism on sweet Gianna back in June and now I’m sharing all the lovely with y’all.

First up? The big event. Scroll on down to the bottom for all the party pretty!

I have always been a sucker for the details and this chapel has so many I’ve lost count. It’s located in downtown Austin at Scott’s old office, just across the street from the State Capitol. I’m not sure you can get any more Texas than that. {Nuns not always included.} You can read more about the Sacrament from the Vatican’s official website.

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While none of these pictures captured my tears, trust me. They were there. This chapel holds a special place in our hearts. Our first-born was baptized at our home parish in Indiana by the priest who married us and the other five children have all been baptized in this beautiful place by the Bishop (well, one of them finished the rite here, but I’m still counting it!) It is quaint and beautiful and a place that holds only memories of joy. How could you not love a chapel like that?

My sweet friend, Anne Clarey, made this baptismal bowl for our family. While Gianna broke it in, I plan on writing all the baptismal dates on the back in hopes that it will become a cherished family heirloom. Every time I look at that bowl, I tear up. Anne, you have such a gift. Thank you for sharing it with our family.

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I’m warning you now, photo overload + a little theology.

Bishop Vásquez first asked Scott and I two questions: What name do you give your child? and What do you ask of God’s church for Gianna? Then he made sure that we knew what we were getting ourselves into and asked the same of the Godparents. We all then made the sign of the cross on sweet G’s head. Gah! I love this photo.

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We then enjoyed a beautiful scripture reading by Deacon Tom, her Godfather, and the homily by the bishop. As you can tell, Gianna was being a little stinker. As the sixth kid, she didn’t want to be forgotten. And, as the fifth child, Luke didn’t want to miss a second.

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Then, we freed her from original sin and annointed her with the oil of salvation. She wailed! And then she was peaceful.

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Then it was time for that beautiful, holy, purifying water. I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Holy smokes, she had a set of pipes, y’all!


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Time to bathe in the chrism! Note: we didn’t bathe her for a week after this blessed event. Mmmm, she smelled divine.

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That white bib was symbolic of her new clothing in Christ. The baptismal candle was lit from the Paschal/Easter one (the larger candle) as a reminder to keep the love of Christ burning bright in her heart.

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One of the sweetest and most poignant parts of the Sacrament is the blessing of mother and father. For me, I think that’s when it sinks in just how important our job is as our children’s parents. The first fruits of their faith life are up to us and at confirmation, we turn that over to them.

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There she is, a new creation!

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We took loads of family pictures afterwards. Here are just a few of my favorites. Might I add, I love the series of “gotta smell me some of that chrism” from her Godparents, Dcn. Tom and Tanja! Of course, Little Miss did all her yelling during the sacrament and sacked out for all the pictures.

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After she was all chrismed up, we headed back to our house for the par-tay. Because every sacrament deserves sugar, Tex-Mex, libations, joy and good times. You know how much I love a good dessert table. Gianna’s was filled with sweets, the baptismal gown and lots of pretty.

The shelf displayed one of my very favorite birth photos of her, along with the family gown (purchased in Assisi, Italy) that all of my children have worn, except Will! We’re hoping to pass it down to the next generation of Whitaker’s.


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The cake! The cookies! The cake pops! You do not even want to know how many insomnia-filled pregnancy nights were filled with Pinterest perusing. The table was destroyed in ten minutes flat and I could not have been happier. A destroyed dessert table makes for a happy houseful of guests.

You might notice that lovely rosary on the table, too. My friend Melanie handcrafted that piece, and when it arrived I was speechless. So much beauty for our miracle baby.

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baptism_03Scott whipped up his usual guacamole (that was destroyed faster than the dessert table). Culprits? The Sisters! We had fajitas and the fixings, along with some homemade beans, for lunch. Scott did a phenomenal job. The rest of the afternoon was spent in a sugar coma, talking and laughing with people I dearly love. All of the living grandparents, the Godparents and their families, a cousin and the Sisters were all able to share our joy. We felt so blessed and honored to have each of them here at the house to celebrate.



Joy is always sweeter when shared with people you love. Welcome to your new life in Christ, Gianna Thérèse!

Gianna Whitaker Baptism-3919-265Party details
Printables: Minted
Straws/Jars: The TomKat Studio
Cake, Cake pops, Cookies: Polkadots

Baptism Ceremony photography provided by Sugarbee Photography


  1. Nicole on July 22, 2014 at 8:45 am

    A wonderful celebration, indeed! It could not have been more perfect. I love how steeped in tradition (the location, dress, the bowl) the entire baptism is for your family.

    I love your dress! Where is that from?

    • Kathryn on July 22, 2014 at 8:51 am

      Thank you! It was the loveliest of days. Dress is from one of my favorite online stores, noVae Clothing. They have sales all the time and I get their weekly enewsletter with specials. Love their stuff.

      • Colleen on July 22, 2014 at 12:28 pm

        I was going to ask the same question! I am a sucker for polka dots! 🙂

  2. Emily on July 22, 2014 at 10:27 am

    How absolutely beautiful!! I am also a sucker for details and I love all those included here! That cake is gorgeous. Welcome, Gianna!

  3. Jennifer on July 22, 2014 at 11:02 am

    Loving the “itty bitty Catholic” onesie!!!

  4. Kimberly on July 22, 2014 at 11:21 am

    I love me a good baptism. Best sacrament ever. All of our kids (5) have worn the same baptismal gown made by my MIL. Theresa (our youngest) was the only one who got the full, immersion baptism implemented by our pastor. I was skeptical at first, because I didn’t want my precious girl dunked. But you know what? I had a friend take pics for us…and those pictures were the BEST.EVER. Her facial expression being held in the baptismal pool and getting water poured over her head? PRICELESS. Girlfriend was NOT PLEASED. But she sacked out for the rest of the ceremony, all the way home, and for 3 hours on my bed! She missed her whole party, LOL. I didnt’ wash her head for a whole week either…that chrism smells too good. And I see Tanja…HI TANYA! We were friends back at St. Mary’s and still are. And Katheryn…you look amazing. You don’t even look like you had a baby. 🙂

    • Kathryn on July 22, 2014 at 1:28 pm

      Gianna slept through her whole party too! I nursed her and Sr. Maria Guadalupe rocked her to sleep 🙂

  5. Beverly on July 22, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    Amazing! This has to be the most well-planned Baptism ever! Each detail is so full of love and beauty. Thank you for taking time to share the excellent photos and explain all the details. Welcome to the church, sweet Gianna Therese!

  6. Heather Woyak on July 22, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    This is wonderful!! I love this post!! And, by the way – you look FABULOUS!! And, Gianna is just gorgeous…what a sweet little princess. Your whole family is beautiful. Welcome to the Church family, Gianna!!

  7. Colleen on July 22, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    This had me tearing up! What a beautifully captured day and the JOY that is emitted from the family pictures sends chills up my legs. Pure, simple beauty. Also, I love the silly faced pictured in front of the tabernacle…I just know Jesus was making a silly face too! Your oldest couldn’t be a prouder big brother and the party details were perfectly sweet. The white chocolate chips to make the cross, genius! Congrats on your little angel, and thanks for sharing!

  8. Elise on July 22, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    What wonderful pictures of a blessed celebration! Thanks for sharing with us. You and your sweet family look beautiful!

  9. Kari on July 22, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    She’s so beautiful! I love all the pictures.

    How do you pronounce her name? I’ve heard both Jahn-nah and G-aw-nah.

    • Kathryn on July 22, 2014 at 6:46 pm

      The second! And thank you 🙂

      • Jennifer on July 23, 2014 at 6:59 am

        🙂 we have a Gianna also (our first) we pronounce it “the American way” almost always, but on the day that we met St Gianna’s son, he called her “John-na-na” and we use it as a nickname for her:) Also, since our Gianna is our first her younger siblings have only been able to pronounce it “John-na” when they start talking:) it makes me smile every time! What a beautiful celebration of a most important day for your sweet Gianna! Congrats!!!

  10. Mary on July 22, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    Just beautiful! Welcome to the church sweet Gianna! Blessings to all.

  11. Maureen and Larry Davis on July 24, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    Congratulations and God bless all! Love

    Maureen and Larry

  12. Verdina on July 27, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    What a beautiful celebration of the most wonderful sacrament! Thank you so much for sharing the wonderful details!
    May God continue to bless Gianna and your whole family!
    Love you guys!

  13. Aileen on July 27, 2014 at 10:17 pm

    Lovely, lovely photos!!! Both baptism and party. Beautiful!!!

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