On Saturday, May 14, 2016, Columban Fr. John Marley baptized Rian Francis Derek Conroy, son of Patrick Conroy and Lauren Coombes, in the Columban chapel at Bristol, Rhode Island.
Rian's parents had brought their baby all the way from Pomona, New York, to be baptized by Fr. Marley because Fr. Marley had baptized Rian's mother, Lauren Coombes, in the parish at Castleknock, Dublin, Ireland, on May 29, 1982. Not only that, but in 1980 Fr. Marley had officiated at the wedding of Lauren's parents, Derek Coombes and Róisín Kelly on July 4, 1980, in Cabra, Dublin.
As if it were not enough to have officiated at the wedding of the baby's grandparents, Fr. Marley had also officiated at the wedding of Rian's great grandparents. On August 13, 1951, when Fr. Marley was a newly ordained priest, he officiated at the wedding of John Kelly and Pauline Parnell, in Dublin, Ireland. John and Pauline were the parents of Róisín Kelly, who is the mother of Lauren Coombes who is the mother of Rian Francis Derek Conroy.
In the baptism of baby Rian we have an example of pastoral care spanning a period of 65 years and more than 3,000 miles of land and sea! The baptism is also an example of handing on the faith. In the baptismal ceremony the parents and godparents pledge that they will train the newly baptized in the practice of the faith. But in my experience it is the grandparents who are the prime movers, encouraging the parents to have the baptism without delay, and then doing all they can to show the child the truths of the faith, as well as how to put that Faith into practice in the activities of daily life.
The following pictures show key moments in handing on the faith to Rian Francis Derek Conroy: