Pregnant Edo woman migrant fleeing to Europe gives birth during Gernam boat rescue (photo)
In the midst of her stressful overseas voyage to Europe, Vivian, a very pregnant Nigerian woman from Edo state who departed from the Libyan coast, ended up giving birth on the German naval ship that rescued her and 654 other fleeing migrants.
Her first request when she saw the military chaplain on board? That her newborn son get baptized.
According to the German Military Chaplaincy, Vivian, who is Catholic and likely fleeing ongoing violence and persecution in her country, was one of 655 people who piled onto four flimsy dinghies in order to reach Europe with the hope of a better life.
On July 6, their first day at sea, a German naval ship saw the boats, and, recognizing the precarious condition of the dinghies, described as “un-seaworthy,” brought them on board.
When military chaplain Fr. Jochen Folz saw that Vivian had given birth on board the ship after being rescued, he 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.
A woman named Martina O., who was also rescued from the dinghies, was allowed to accompany the birth, and agreed to take on the role of the child's godmother.
The rite then proceeded as usual and Vivian named her child “Ikpomosa.” (Ikpomwosan)
When the priest asked her “What do you ask of the Church for Ikpomosa?” Vivian smiled and said proudly: “Baptism, faith and eternal life.” The priest then traced a sign of the cross on the newborn's forehead, inviting his mother and godmother to do the same.
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.
As a baptismal gift, baby Ikpomosa was given a medal of St. Michael the Archangel, while Vivian and Martina were each given a medal of the Virgin Mary. All three had been prepared by a medical soldier, who tied a ribbon on each so they could be hung or tied somewhere safe.
While this wasn't the first time Fr. Folz has baptized someone in action, it did mark the first time he did so for a refugee child.
credit: Catholic News Agency
Please LOGIN or REGISTER To Gain Full Access To This Article