PORT HUENEME (CBSLA.com) — A local military family says the government shutdown is threatening to cancel their daughter’s baptism.
Amy Johnson spoke to the concerned family on Thursday.
Little Arianna Farmer made a big entrance into the world. It was also fitting for the daughter of a military family — she was born on the 4th of July.
Almost immediately, Arianna’s mom — Heather Farmer — said she decided she wanted the little girl to be baptized a Catholic.
Her baptism dress was chosen, the church was selected. Invitations were also sent out.
The big day was supposed to be this Sunday at the Naval Base Ventura County Port Hueneme Chapel. She picked the venue months ago.
But politics have gotten in the way. The priest cancelled at the 11th hour.
“He said the government shutdown was causing him to not perform the baptism,” said Farmer.
“I’m very disappointed in the government for causing this,” said Farmer, “I thought church and state were supposed to be separate.”
Johnson was told the two Navy chaplains at the base are both Protestant. The Catholic priests, who were contracted, were furloughed because of the shutdown.
“We all are baptized, confirmed … we grew up in a Catholic church,” said Carrie Sigmund, Heather’s mother.
She is bewildered that her first grandchild’s baptism is at risk.
“It’s a celebration of life, it’s Arianna’s introduction to the church. And to be turned away at the last moment like this, was very stressful and very sad to me. I felt like this government shutdown has let us down,” said Sigmund.
Despite the short notice, the family is hoping they can find another church to accommodate them or a Catholic priest who can step in and perform the service at the military base.