120-year-old baptismal gown

Andrea Johnson/MDN Kathie Lach helps straighten the heirloom baptismal gown worn by her 2 1/2 week old great-grandson, Karol Steven Dinkel, before his baptism at St. Leo’s Catholic Church on Sunday. Karol’s parents, John and Madelyn Dinkel, are holding him.

Two and a half week old baby Karol Steven Dinkel barely whimpered when the baptismal waters touched his tiny forehead on Sunday at St. Leo’s Catholic Church in Minot.

His beaming parents, godparents, grandparents and dozens of other family members and friends were there to witness his welcome into the Catholic Church.

It was a momentous occasion in more ways than one. The tiny baby wore a 120-year-old heirloom baptismal gown that was previously worn by his mother and many other family members.

His great-grandmother, Kathie Lach, is the keeper of the long white gown that was sewn by Karol’s great-great-great-great grandmother, Mary Janovolsky Washa, in 1897. Lach said she keeps the delicate garment in a garment bag and it has only been taken out for other family baptisms.

The gown was worn by Karol’s great-great-great grandmother, Alvina Washa Knox, in 1897, by his great-great grandmother, Patricia Knox Schilken, in 1920, and then later by his great-grandmother, Kathie Schilken Lach in 1944, his grandmother Trini Lach Lipp in 1969, and by his mother, Madelyn Lipp Dinkel in 1996.

Lach said all of her six children, 18 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren have worn the heirloom gown.

Madelyn Dinkel said it is extremely special for her to be able carry on the family tradition. The Dinkels have honored tradition in multiple ways, naming their son after family members as well as after Saint Pope John Paul II, whose original name was Karol Wojtyla. Karol is the Polish form of Charles. The first name is also nod to the family’s Polish heritage and to the Polish Pope, who was recently canonized.

Karol’s baptism was also special for his parents because their friend, the newly ordained priest Father Jordan Dosch, was available to perform the baptism.


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