Dear Miriam

I am looking for some help and advice with regard to my grandchild. My husband and I have recently retired from farming. We signed the farm over to our son and daughter-in-law. They are both wonderful people and I am truly blessed that I have a really nice relationship with them.

My concern is they are both lapsed Catholics and have decided to have a naming ceremony for their new baby, our first grandchild. I am horrified as I believe the baby needs to be baptized into the Catholic Church, same as they were. I worry for the baby’s spiritual needs as he grows older and what if he died without being baptized?

Maybe I am old-fashioned, but I have been a practicing Catholic all of my life and my husband as well. He seems to be unperturbed by it, saying it is their choice how they rear their children, but I am tempted to do a lay baptism with holy water myself if I ever get the chance.

I know this seems wrong, but I am really worried about the baby’s soul

should anything happen to him, now or later in life. How am I supposed to deal with this without upsetting my son and his wife?

Regular reader (name with editor)

Dear Reader

I am sorry that you are experiencing such anxiety and fear with regard to your lovely new grandson. The honest fact is, your husband is correct: he is their baby and it is their right to choose how to rear him.

It is not ok to secretly ‘baptize’ your grandchild. I believe the guilt would eat into you afterwards and you may irrevocably damage the lovely relationship you have with your son, daughter-in-law and grandchild. It is ok to be honest with them about your worries, and there is nothing stopping you from praying quietly for this baby each day, asking God to bless and protect him. In time, you will learn to accept their decision. Getting reassurance from a spiritual advisor may help you to let go of your own well-meaning cares and concerns and truly enjoy this precious little boy that has come into your world.

Hand your concerns over to the God you believe in. There is a lovely saying when we have worries in life: We Let Go and Let God. I hope this helps ease your mind, and allow you to enjoy your new grandson 100%. Congratulations to you both on becoming grandparents. It is lovely to witness the next generation arrive into the world.

We received this letter from a reader regarding our 2 September Dear Miriam query from Yvonne, who didn’t want to move into her in-law’s house on the farm:

Dear Miriam,

After reading the replies to Yvonne’s letter in Irish Country Living, I decided to tell you about my own situation.

Nearly 30 years ago, myself and my girlfriend got engaged and decided to build our own house on the family farm. My girlfriend was not from a farming background, born and raised in a city, and was leaving everything - her home, family, work – to move down to the country.

My parents were dead against us building. They wanted us to move into their house and they would build a granny flat on to it. We objected and, at the time, it caused a lot of friction between us. Anyway, we went and built our own home. Twenty five years later, we are never as happy and my wife was able to have the home she wanted for us and our children. My parents eventually got over the fact that we went and built our own home.

What I would say to Yvonne is: stand your ground and do what you want to do. Your future in-laws will get over it. And finally, having your own place means yourself and your boyfriend can have a good old argument if ye want to and have no future in-laws listening in!

Wishing you always the best, Patrick

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