Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of May 3, 2004
RCIA sponsors' roles continue
At exactly 10 p.m. St. Joseph Basilica was in total darkness. Even whispers died down as the Easter Vigil celebration began.
One can only conjecture as to what was going in the minds of those who would be baptized or confirmed. Some expressed excitement. Others said they were nervous.
An hour before the celebration Sister Annata Brockman assured everyone there's nothing to be nervous about, everything is taken care of and things will flow as planned.
Indeed that was how it happened. As planned that is. The elect were baptized and the rest confirmed. And their journey continues.
Some of them will prepare for the celebration of the sacrament of Marriage while others will continue discerning their vocations in life. It is hoped that they continue to discover more about the Catholic faith.
In doing this, their pacing will not be the same. Others will try and get to know more on their own time while others will be actively involved in the parish life right away. But whatever it is they decide to do the seed of faith has already been planted.
One thing is sure, their lives are changed forever whether they notice or not, whether others notice or not.
In the RCIA it is not only the one who desired to be baptized or confirmed who journeyed. Even the sponsors did. They journeyed with the whole RCIA group and specifically they journeyed with the person they sponsored.
At first glance the role of the sponsor is accidental to the fact that it is relative to the journey of the one to be baptized and/or confirmed. If there is no one to receive the sacrament there will be no sponsor.
But even when this is the case, the role of the sponsor - if taken seriously - is tremendously important.
As the RCIA book states the godparents or sponsors are given "the responsibility to show the candidates how to practise the Gospel in personal and social life, to sustain the candidates in moments of hesitancy and anxiety, to bear witness and to guide the candidates' progress in the baptismal life."
The role of the sponsor does not end when the Baptism has been celebrated. Now the question is, "How do we actually continue to journey with the person we sponsored when RCIA meetings are over?"
Keep in contact with them. Don't forget about this newly initiated Catholic. Call them up occasionally if only to ask how life is going. But then one must always avoid being condescending. Some newly initiated Catholic may not find different practices of the faith to be second nature. And when this is the case, the sponsor's role to be a resource is being called upon anew.
Be a living model of faith. Your life doesn't have to become artificially saintly, but your faith should be authentic and sincere.
Pray for them and yourself. Your prayers for them are important, but don't forget to pray for yourself also, that you can share why you value and practise your Catholicism.
Attend Mass together, or even have the courage to come to sacrament of Reconciliation together.
Give of your time and share your gifts. Let your unique God-given talents and gifts shine. Offer a gift of spiritual significance - a new Bible, rosary or book about our faith or about the saint with whom the candidate has become interested.
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