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'God is watching over them'

All 10 godparents - and many other relatives - were there for Sunday's quintessential ceremony.

[Times photo: Dan McDuffie]
Godparent Kelly Bender holds quintuplet Alyssa Somoano as the Rev. Austin Mullen prepares to baptize her at St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church on Sunday.

By RYAN DAVIS

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 8, 2001


NEW TAMPA -- On Sunday, Jack and Kathy Somoano may have finally found something about raising quintuplets that's easier than raising a single child.

Choosing godparents.

If they had just one child, how could the Wesley Chapel couple have chosen between Kathy's sister Kelly and Jack's aunt Daisy?

"It probably would have been harder," Jack said. "We would have had to decide who's what."

There were ample godparent titles to bestow at Sunday's baptism of the 8-month-old Somoano quintuplets.

Alyssa, Brianna, Cody, Dante and Evan -- all dressed in white and fighting the sniffles -- were anointed with oil and water during the 10:30 a.m. Mass at St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church, 9724 Cross Creek Blvd.

It was ceremony times five.

The boys wore formal outfits with vests and shoes with bells, and the girls wore little lacy gowns.

"I think they look really cute," Kathy said, "but then again, I'm the mom."

One at a time, the Rev. Austin Mullen poured a small bowl of water from the baptismal fountain over each of their heads, which sport varying amounts of brown hair.

Some of the babies cried; they all squirmed.

Kathy's four brothers and a brother-in-law took the roles of godfathers. Jack's two sisters and two aunts, and Kathy's sister, became the godmothers.

"I didn't have to hurt any feelings," Jack said.

The family gathered in the back of the church for the beginning of the Mass, and, after explaining the commitment of baptism, Mullen asked the parents, "Do you truly understand what you are undertaking?"

By now, they know.

The quintuplets were born to the first-time parents April 25 in Tampa General Hospital, 12 weeks premature, weighing between 1 pound 2 ounces and 2 pounds 2 ounces.

The last of the babies were released from the hospital in August and came to the family's Lakes of Northwood home.

Nearly 30 people -- all relatives -- stayed in that four-bedroom, three-bathroom house for the weekend, Kathy said.

Both Jack and Kathy were raised Catholic.

"It's important for us to do this for them," Jack said. "They'll learn about their faith later on.

"God is watching over them. He got them this far."

- Information from Times files was used in this report.

Want to help?

Donations can be mailed to the family at Internet Xtreme Inc., c/o Jack Somoano, 5450 County Road 581, No. 150, Wesley Chapel, FL 33543-9242, or call Jack Somoano at (813) 417-1041. The family's Web site is www.5miracles.com

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