Ties that bind: Coast Guard baby baptized with a sand dollar from a ship’s bell

Father Robert Higgins introduced Nilah Jo Silvoy to the guests aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Anvil after her baptism Sunday at the Charleston Sector Headquarters. Buy this photo

Baptized with a sand dollar from a ship’s bell.

That’s how 3-month-old Nilah Jo Silvoy will always remember her baptism, once she’s old enough to hear about it.

She was baptized Sunday aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Anvil at the Charleston base. Her father, Eric Silvoy, is the vessel’s executive petty officer.

Silvoy was dressed in his navy blue Coast Guard uniform as he held his daughter over the inverted bell. She was dressed in a white gown and didn’t make a peep.

Father Robert Higgins, a Catholic priest with the Apostleship of the Sea, gave the family a choice of full submersion, pouring or sprinkling. Silvoy decided Nilah was too big to fit in the bell and chose sprinkling. He used a sand dollar to scoop water out of the bell.

Paul Rosenblum, a Citadel biology professor preparing to become a deacon, assisted with the oils and the tomes.

“I think it was probably one of the more memorable things I’ll remember in my lifetime,” Silvoy said.

Nilah’s name will be inscribed inside the bell this week, traveling with her father as he keeps Lowcountry waterways safe.

The Anvil is a construction tender, with a big yellow crane attached to the back.

Silvoy has been in the Coast Guard for 10 years. He and his wife, Kateline, moved here from Cape Cod, Mass., in May. Nilah is their first child. The family could get the bell when the ship is decommissioned, if the bell isn’t put into a museum, Silvoy said.

Higgins said this is not the first time he’s baptized a baby in a ship’s bell. Silvoy said it’s an old tradition.

Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553.

Comments { }

Postandcourier.com is pleased to offer readers the enhanced ability to comment on stories. We expect our readers to engage in lively, yet civil discourse. Postandcourier.com does not edit user submitted statements and we cannot promise that readers will not occasionally find offensive or inaccurate comments posted in the comments area. Responsibility for the statements posted lies with the person submitting the comment, not postandcourier.com. If you find a comment that is objectionable, please click "report abuse" and we will review it for possible removal. Please be reminded, however, that in accordance with our Terms of Use and federal law, we are under no obligation to remove any third party comments posted on our website. Read our full Terms and Conditions.