Zachary and Nicholas Klaus tell parents they want to be baptized, then share special day with classmates
DOVER — “Today, we have two members we want to welcome.”
With those words, Deacon Bob McMullen began the baptism service for Zachary and Nicholas Klaus, brothers who are in kindergarten and pre-k, respectively, at Holy Cross School. They were brought into the church March 23 in front of their classmates, teachers, and a few family members and friends.
The boys, who live in Magnolia, started at Holy Cross at the beginning of this school year, and they approached their parents, Lewis and Christina, saying they wanted to be part of the Catholic Church.
“They told us they wanted to do it, that it was important to them,” Christina Klaus said after the baptisms. “It was emotional, heartwarming that they wanted to do this. That is what I had hoped for with the religious foundation, that they would find it and want it to be part of their lives.”
Lewis was raised Catholic, but having the boys join the church was not foremost on their minds when they enrolled them in the school.
“Our intention was kind of to go through the journey and see where it took us,” Christina said.
Lewis added that they wanted Zachary and Nicholas in a school “that no one could take God out of.” He said the decision to send them to Holy Cross was “a no-brainer.”
Before enrolling, they asked if it was a problem if the boys were not baptized, and Patricia Wegemer, Nicholas’ teacher, assured them it was not. She offered to help them if they wanted to pursue it. When the Klauses said they would, Wegemer suggested that they celebrate the sacrament with their classmates. Neither Lewis nor Christina is from Delaware, and they have no extended family in the area.
“I said, ‘We do a lesson on baptism, and it’d be really, really cool if maybe we could witness that,’” Wegemer said. “They rolled with it. They said they would love to have the children come. So when I heard that, I got all super-excited because we teach it, and now they could see it.”
Christina Klaus said Wegemer has been “an instrumental part of why we’re here today. She’s been very faithful and loving with our family and guided our kids. It just seemed like a natural course of action. As they started going through religion, they talked about wanting to be baptized and be a child of God and part of God’s family. We did this to support it.”
Wegemer got emotional talking about the baptism. She called it “a special, special time.
“This is why we’re here. This is what we’re about. We brought two children to God today. It means so much that they let us come.”
They will remember
Deacon McMullen explained to Zachary, 6, and Nicholas, 4, that this day is a special one in the life of each Catholic, and especially so for them because most are baptized when they are babies and cannot remember that day. The Klaus boys will be able to look back upon their entry into the Catholic Church.
The deacon said he’s not even sure where his baptism photos are, and he encouraged them to celebrate theirs like they do their birthdays.
“Every year on this day you can have a party,” he said.
That meant a lot to Lewis and Christina as well.
“Just as Deacon Bob said, it’s obviously special that the boys will be able to remember their baptism because of their ages. And being able to have family and friends and the entire boys’ classes be able to attend was just real special,” Lewis said.
His parents, Edward and Therese, drove in from Ohio and are the boys’ godparents, which also meant a lot to him.
Deacon McMullen led the congregation through a litany of the saints and the recitation of their baptismal vows before pouring water from the baptismal font on each of the boys. That was their favorite part, they said.
“I liked the part where he dumped water on my head,” Zachary said. “It means a lot to me. It means that I’m already baptized, and I don’t know what else to say.”
”I’m a child of God,” Nicholas added when asked what the baptism meant to him. “I liked Deacon Bob dumping water on my head.”
Lewis Klaus, an Ohio native, came to Delaware as a member of the Air Force and went to work for the United States Department of Agriculture after retiring from the service. Christina also works for the USDA, and they met at an agency meeting in Texas and then again in Colorado. Christina moved to Delaware to be with Lewis.
“She lived in Oregon. We met at a meeting, and here we are today. We drove clear across the country, just me and her and her dog,” Lewis said.
In addition to his parents, two of Lewis’ other three children were at the baptism, 11-year-old Chloe and 14-year-old Noah. Several friends also attended.
Christina, who is not Catholic, attends Holy Cross with her husband and sons. She said she is on her own journey at her own pace, and “we’re going to see what happens as we go down that road.” Clearly, the family was happy with their boys’ destination.