Today I enter into a sacred covenant. Christopher is being baptized and I am his madrina. Fr. Bill will be his padrino. It is both a privilege and a responsibility to be a godparent. Twice before I have had this honor with a nephew (also Christopher) and grandniece (Abby). But this time feels very different.
Last Sunday Bill and I accompanied Christopher’s parents, Yessenia and Boris, to the pre-baptism class at the parish in Anapra. The catechists were more than a little nervous at having a priest and a sister in the group. As we got started in the chilly barren classroom however, I felt truly privileged to be accompanying the parents in the process of preparation. “Why do you want your child baptized?” “What does it mean?” “What does it mean to be a godparent?” And what is the relationship of the parents and the godparents?
In becoming Chris’s madrina, I also become Yessenia’s comadre. Having been part of Yessenia’s life since she was released from a detention center in the U.S., receiving amnesty and eventually citizenship after journeying alone from an abusive home in Guatemala at age 16, I am happy to accept this new dimension in our relationship. She is a strong, faith-filled young woman and a beautiful mother. This commitment is a blessing in my life.
Bill, Boris, Yessenia and I are compadres. We will create a circle of love and faith around Christopher, our little “light-bearer”. It is a sacred trust we accept today. Lolis, the catechist who has led countless parents and padrinos through the pre-baptism classes, broke open the scriptures with us after Mass last Sunday. Flipping through her well-worn bible with ease she chose passages like the story of the Epiphany and the description of the early Christian communities. Her face lit up and her voice trembled when she read the passage from the 4th chapter of Luke: “The Spirit of God is upon me, for God has anointed me…” “What does this mean to you and to me?” she asked. She answered for herself: “The Spirit of God has anointed me“. So for each of us. We have been chosen…anointed for God’s own purposes.
What will this child be? I, as his madrina and his parent’s comadre, will be waiting with joyful hope to see!