By Father Rudolph Juarez
During my tenure at St. Mary Parish in Davenport, I had the opportunity to meet and work with many families. Among them was the Garcia family of Rock Island, Illinois: Javier, his wife Beatriz, and their three children: Francisco, Ramiro and Lupita.
Parents want the best for their children as they witness their children grow up: participate in sports, attend school, celebrate their baptism, first Communion, confirmation, graduate, enter the workforce and establish a family of their own.
And, when Javier and Beatriz’s sons got married and had children, Beatriz’s biggest wish was to have her grandchildren baptized. This, because, as the Mexicans say, she considered herself a Catholic “de hueso colorado” of “red bone marrow” or, a “Catholic to the bone.” Because as far as Beatriz was concerned, “that’s just what you do.”
Beatriz was diagnosed with cancer almost 15 years ago and beat it. But two years ago, the cancer returned. I have to say that in all my years of experience of tending to people with cancer, Beatriz suffered through this illness more than anyone I can remember. Yet, on almost every visit I had with Beatriz, whether that was to hear her confession, anoint her or give her holy Communion, she would share her ardent desire of getting her grandchildren baptized.
On our last visit earlier this month, I told her that I would talk to her sons about getting the children baptized and, because she was homebound, we would celebrate the baptism of her grandchildren in her presence at home. We scheduled the baptisms for Tuesday, July 11, 2023.
Beatriz entered eternal life the morning of July 11, 2023, and on the afternoon of July 11, 2023, her grandchildren were baptized here at St. Anthony, for as St. Paul says: “… are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life.” Romans 6: 3-4.
God with us!
(Father Rudolph Juarez is pastor of St. Anthony Parish in Davenport.)