Thursday, August 15, 2013

Renewing baptismal promises

The other day we went to the churches of our baptism to fulfil the requirements of the Plenary Indulgence for year of Faith: to renew one's baptismal promises in the church where one was baptised, with the usual conditions.

I was baptised in St Mary's Cadogan Street, a very fine church not far from the then family home.

We then went to where my wife was baptised: Our Lady of Victories, in High Street Kensington.

I've always rather liked this church, the way it is hidden down an alley off High Street Ken is rather fun, it is like a little Catholic secret. As we went in, we could smell fresh paint: there has clearly been a big renovation, and it's not finished yet.

The fashion for putting the font in the sanctuary has passed, thank goodness, but I was sad to see what must have been side chapels turned into nothing more than a shelf for a devotional image and a candle-stand. The most egregious example can be seen if you follow a large sign to the 'Chapel of St Thomas More and St John Fisher.' I've been writing about this in my last post.

Can you have a chapel without an Altar in it? Is it a chapel if you can't have Mass there? It just seems a bit odd.

No doubt the renovation was an improvement, they nearly always are these days, as we slowly recover from the horrors of the 1960s and 1970s. But it was clearly also a slightly missed opportunity.


  1. The church I was baptised in was;
    a. Anglican.
    b. Is now a branch of Sainsbury's!
    Is there any alternative way of renewing baptismal vows?

  2. Clare, may I recommend the mineral water aisle?

  3. Clare can always avail herself of the indulgence granted in the Enchiridion Indulgentiarum as follows: "A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful, who renew their baptismal promises according to any formula in use; but a plenary indulgence is granted, if this is done in the celebration of the Paschal Vigil or on the anniversary of one’s baptism."

  4. My baptismal font has long since been converted into a presbytery garden bird bath. The pigeons love it. You think I'm kidding? Three words: Archdiocese. Of. Liverpool.

  5. Thank you , Francis!
    Matt; that made me giggle! Your suggestion is probably more sensible than in front of the position of the high altar; the ladies loos!!