Being Baptized as a Pastor

By Fr. Andy Sensenig,  OMI

Fr. Andy (in dry suit, center, rear) and parishioners

One of most joyful and beautiful aspects of being a priest for almost 19 years and as well as being a Missionary Oblate of Mary Immaculate for almost 25 years is administering the Sacrament of Baptism.

There is a joy of the parents, , the steadfastness of the godparents, the pride of grandparents, and the watchfulness of the brothers, sisters and cousins of the child about to be baptized, who is at times at loss of what is going on, especially when the waters of baptism touches the child’s head.

I have had the baptized child cry; get mad and other reactions that are better not mentioned in polite company.


A youngster takes aim at Fr. Andy in the tank

Well, on August 20, 2016 at our parish picnic, here at St. Gregory the Nazianzen in Sitka, the shoe was on the other foot.  I got into a dunk trap on loan from our local fire station and children got an opportunity to baptize the pastor.

I never saw children so patient in waiting to throw a softball.  They were encouraging each to take a “good aim” and “throw hard” so yours truly go wet.  Thank God, for a generous person, who lent me a dry suit, so I would have froze for sure.

The most memorable comment of the day came from an older parishioner, who shared with me that he was envious of the children, not because of their opportunity of getting the pastor dunked, but that the children here have a pastor, who is a friend of the children.  He said that he was raised to fear the pastor.  He is grateful that children here are learning a different way to relate to their pastor.

With that said, all the splashes in the cold water and joyful squeals of laughter were worth it and then some.  Life is good being a Missionary Oblate Of Mary Immaculate  in Southeast Alaska.  Joy is never in short supply.


The exact moment of Fr. Andy’s “baptism”