According to the German Military Chaplaincy, the Nigerian woman named Vivian was one of 655 people who piled onto four flimsy dinghies in order to reach Europe with the hope of a better life.
Immediately after being rescued, Vivian went into labour and delivered a baby boy on board the ship. The military chaplain Fr. Jochen Folz and the medical team immediately offered their support. After only a few minutes Vivan made one wish very clear: she was Catholic, and she wanted her newborn son to be baptized.
So Fr. Folz got to work right away with the help of ship’s officers and crew: the radio operator enabled the Internet so the priest could access the English texts needed for the rite of Baptism, while others found a sauceboat, matching tray for a makeshift “baptismal” font and a candle.
“What name will you give your child,” to which she replied: “Ikpomosa.”
After pouring water over the child’s head three times with the sauceboat while reciting the ancient biblical formula: “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” the priest then lit the candle and passed to his godmother.
Fr. Folz draped his white priestly stole over the newborn as a symbol of the divine sonship since there was no white baptismal gown.
Photo credit:Catholic Military Chaplaincy