Thursday, March 30, 2006

I am a church loser, part 3

More on the church situation...can you believe what a debacle this has turned into???

This morning the priest that married us finally called and said that he would sign the verification form for us...and then I talked to my sister-in-law who talked to her church who said that they didn't even NEED the form for the class on Saturday.

Miscommunication at its best!

But yay! I get to be a godmother!!!


Blogger Erin said...

Yay! I'm glad it all seems to be working out.

11:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah! So glad that it's finally getting squared away. Perserverance does prevail! And just because you don't go to church every weekend and every holiday does not mean that you are not religious. ;) I'm so glad you get to be a godmother.

2:44 PM  
Blogger Father Joe Jenkins said...

You do not know me, but I read with interest your problem and am glad it worked out. Actually, it is general policy that godparents for a Catholic baptism must present a permissorial form to the priest or church where the sacrament will be celebrated. Sometimes priests will excuse the form if there is some indication that the godparents intend to renew and live out their faith.

There is no meanness involved and it is more than simply bureacracy. A majority of Catholics have defected from the practice of the faith; sometimes they espouse views or have lifestyles that contradict Church teaching and the Gospel. Sometimes, people just stop practicing, maybe not appreciating the true value of their religion.

We believe that a spiritual bond is created between the baptized child and the godparent. How can you profess a faith for the child that you yourself do not live out? A baby is made an adopted son or daughter of God, a member of the Church, and an inheritor of the Kingdom of heaven. Original sin is washed away; but how terrible it would be if the godparent is her- or himself spiritual dead in mortal sin. Sometimes a non-Catholic Christian witness is permitted, but often only the Catholic godparent is placed in the record book and on the certificate. Only the Catholic godparent or sponsor has official standing and the spiritual relationship is permanent.

It will be your role to pray for the godchild and even to admonish the parents if they do not live the faith and nurture the child in faith-- worship, prayer, values, Christian education, and the reception of other sacraments like Confession, Holy Communion and Confirmation. You should also add the child to your daily prayer list. Take also a holywater bottle so that a sampling of the water used can be saved by you and the parents-- a sensible reminder that can be used to sprinkle the home and to use when crossing oneself prior to prayer. Many Godparents are also wise to give little presents on birthdays and on the annual anniversary of the baptism. Religious gifts can have particular meaning.

It is okay to feel guilty. You are guilty. But we are ALL sinners, meaning that we all know various degrees of culpability for not being the Christians we should be. You do not have to feel bad about it. Return to the practice of your faith, not simply so that you can fulfill a family obligation in being a sponsor, but for your own sake and for your own immediate family. Sometimes people say that the commandments and the precepts of the Church make them feel guilty; the answer is not to deny this truth, or to disavow the Church, but rather to seek God's mercy. It is so very simple, all you have to do is go to Confession. When you receive the priest's absolution, all is forgiven, and you will have the graces of the sacrament to do better. Then regularly practice your faith-- Sunday Mass and encouraging prayer, faith, and Christian values in your home. Make a place in your house for Jesus. Your marriage will grow stronger and you will be the kind of witness that your godchild and own immediate family needs.

Even the most poorly said and boring Mass is still a sacramental unbloody re-presentation of Christ's sacrifice at Calvary. The only thing missing from Calvary is our own participation; we are to offer ourselves with Jesus as an acceptable oblation and offering to the heavenly Father. Holy Communion, as you recall, is the real presence of Jesus, body and soul, humanity and divinity; God has come down from heaven upon the altar to be our spiritual food-- the rations of that promised shore to which we travel as pilgrims.

Get pictures of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary for your wall. Maybe your parish priest could bless your home and consecrate it to the Lord? You can invite him to your home for supper and then pledge yourselves to regularly (every Sunday and Holy day of Obligation) enter God's house where the Eucharist awaits. The rosary is a beautiful prayer of faith. You and your husband can say it together. Many couples later introduce their children to such prayer by inviting them to pray with them.

There are many destructive forces in the world, and even churchmen are sometimes a great disappointment to us; but we should allow no one and nothing to separate us from Christ and our saving faith.

I will be praying for you,

Father Joe

Yes, I am a Catholic priest, in the Archdiocese of Washington, DC. Peace!

8:21 PM  
Blogger Shannon said...

Good grief. Well I'm glad you are going to get to be a godparent at least. I hope you like your new church.

And for the record, I had to join a church and get a bit of paper signed to be Colin's godmother as well. They never mentioned a 90 day rule, but I did go back to mass for awhile. Now I have the guilt of Father Joe breathing down my neck via the internet. Then again, what's a Catholic girl without the guilt? LOL

5:30 AM  
Blogger Father Joe Jenkins said...

Shannon, I see you are from Charlotte, NC. A friend of mine is bishop there, Peter Jugis. He is a wonderful man and a shepherd who really believes in the Gospel of Life.

My best buddy is in your diocese as well, at Immaculate Heart in Forest City, NC-- a small but fervent and growing faith community.

My advice is the same, put aside guilt by returning to the sacraments. I think the more you study and pray over your faith, the more important it will become for you. We are so fortunate as Catholics-- we have the sacraments, the bible, the teachings of the saints, and a Church that has survived evil empires and even perverse men from within her house.

I hope it is okay if I pray for you, too?

God bless you!

7:48 AM  
Blogger LittleRach said...

Glad to hear it's all sorted. I was a first time Godmother (Anglican) last year, and it was a real honour to be chosen.

I'm also struggling with returning to church since I moved. I want to find a friendly active church, but ideally I'd like to go to the one really close by so that I can meet people local to me. I'm just not sure it's the right place for me. Decisions, decisions.

Good luck with going to mass, and I hope you feel settled with the new church.

8:04 AM  
Blogger Suzanne said...

Glad it's working out Erica!! I'm Southern Baptist, so our "baby dedication" is different, although I'm sure a lot similiar too.

Fr. Joe - love the pic with your furbaby!

9:31 AM  

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