When Mom and Baby are ready to return, the priest "Churches" them -- formally and prayerfully welcomes them back to the community. I see it as a sort of initiation back to normal life.
Susannah's churching took place at St. Ignatius in Madison, Wisconsin, with Fr. Patrick Kinder.
We begin at the entrance to the church, where the priest prays over Mother and Baby.
Fr. Patrick then takes the child down the aisle, stopping three times to lift her to God while singing Psalm verses.
She is raised again and maneuvered in the sign of the Cross in front of the icons of Christ and the Theotokos and Child.
I hope this was Fr. Patrick instructing her to be a good kid.
A final blessing: Father makes the sign of the Cross over Susannah before handing her back to me.
And Grandma and Grandpa got some more grand-baby time in of course.
Thanks so much to Katie, my mother's goddaughter (what does that make us?) who took these lovely photos.