Six days before the operation, Dylan was baptized. Neither Ellen nor Jeff was particularly religious. The baptism was mostly a hedge against Ellen’s greatest fear: that the surgery to save her son’s life would kill him.

Freeing Dylan— from 's incredible story in the Los Angeles Times documenting a couple’s excruciating decision to sever their infant Dylan’s brain because of rare condition known as hemimegalencephaly.

This baptism story struck a chord and reminds me of a personal experience Autumn Skeen shared for our "Spirituality of Parenting" project. When tragic circumstances arise, many Christians — even of the fallen-away variety — find great comfort in the ritual of baptism despite reservations, anxieties, and doubts. I know this story has resurfaced the discussion for me and my wife. I’m just glad it’s people like Autumn, and Jeff and Ellen Catania, that remind us to think about the necessity of such deliberations.

(Photo by Francine Orr and Don Kelsen for the Los Angeles Times.)

by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

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