Thursday greetings from the Archdiocese of New Orleans. I am here at the Gulf Coast Faith Formation Conference (formerly called the Hofinger Conference) presenting two workshops, one on rebuilding the RCIA and the other is entitled "You Have Put on Christ: Cultivating a Baptismal Spirituality." And it is at this conference that my brand new book by the same name is being featured for the first time. The books were shipped here to my hotel from the printer directly, so this morning I saw it for the first time. As most of you know, this is a topic central to my own ministry and life.
Gracing the cover is a photo I took of the ceiling of the baptistery at the Duomo in Florence, Italy, in early November. This is a full-color small book; nearly all photos were taken by yours truly. It tells the story of the rediscovery of my own baptismal call, with photos of the font in which I was baptized. The second chapter focuses on the "two strands" of Lent; the baptismal and the pentitential, with an emphasis on the ways I discovered the Church's understanding and teaching on the baptismal strand.
The next chapter presents a model for celebrating a ritual of baptismal remembrance in a parish or retreat setting, with texts for the leader of prayer. The CD-ROM includes a downloadable version of the leader's text, as well as keyboard accompaniments for the hymns that I suggest for this ritual, as well as reproducible aids for the assembly. Also included are recordings of instrumental music a parish might play during the actual encounter with the baptismal water during the ritual. This music is piano, and piano and flute; all taken from my recordings (and the recordings done with my musical soul-mate Denise La Giglia, flutist). The final chapter presents strategies for cultivating a baptismal spirituality in the parish.
This book represents the culmination of decades of work, travel, and teaching about baptism. I hope it is a helpful resource for the Church. Can you tell how excited I am?
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.