by Ray Day
for Our Lady of Perpetual Help
New Albany, Indiana
Eric scooped water from the upper basin and poured it
over the baby's head. "Faith, I baptize you in the name
of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit."
Dustin and Lindsey Driskell heard these words on Sunday,
October 25th, they experienced the joy of Catholic parenting.
Their little girl, Faith, became a "child of God."
made it different this event so special? It was the
first baptism performed in the church's new font.
November, Fr. Eric assembled a committee to discuss
the creation of a new baptismal font. An anonymous contribution
had been received specifically for this purpose. The
committee included Carol Aemmer, Sandy Bierly, Ray Day,
Greg Ernstberger, Karen Johnson, Jeanette Kannapel,
Peggy Osborne, Jeff Powell, and Dots Wild.
we discussed the theology of Baptism and came to a consensus
regarding location, size, materials, and display of
the Holy Oils. The design concept I presented that evening
was well received and Father Eric immediately sent it
to the architects for implementation.
are four basic elements to the design.
- A "semi-immersion" pool was chosen due to its sanctuary
location and to have the water visible to the congregation.
On Holy Saturday, adult baptismal candidates will
stand or kneel in the shallow water as water is poured
- The cruciform shape reflects the shape of our church.
At the head of the cross stands the "upper pool" for
infant baptisms. It provides a visual balance to the
ambo on the opposite side of the sanctuary.
- The River Jordan is symbolized by allowing water
to flow from the upper basin and continue through
the lower pool toward the congregation.
- The Ambry under the upper pool is a repository for
the Holy Oils.
architect Ed Jerdonek of Luckett & Farley Design Build,
LLC, and architect Donald K. Ball are responsible for
engineering the project. Some of the black marble came
from the original Communion rail that surrounded the
sanctuary from 1966 until 1981.
began in August and was officially completed on October
21. Charlie Gardner, Director of the Office of Worship
for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, commented on the
"unique design that you will not find in any other church
but that fits so well both with this church building
and with the style of ancient baptismal fonts." How
beautifully symbolic that the first child Fr. Eric baptized
was named Faith, for it is in "faith" that we are all
baptized into the Body of Christ.
Holy Spirit provided a unique thread of continuity in
the timing of Faith's baptism and the new font. One
day earlier, the funeral liturgy for fifty-eight year
old Ricky Baumann was held. His parents were charter
members of the parish. On the morning of the first Mass,
December 24, 1950, in the "original church," Ricky was
the first baptism in the first OLPH baptismal font.
am also a charter member of the parish, and I thank
Fr. Eric and the people of Perpetual Help Church, for
allowing me the honor of participating in this project.
The font was officially blessed on Sunday, January 10, 2010, the feast of the Baptism of the Lord.
Following the ceremony, I had Fr. Eric Augenstein pose at the font with me. We are both quite proud of the result.