Message from Bishop Robert, 14 May 2024

Published: Tuesday May 14, 2024

Bishop Robert in the cloistersIf you have ever been asked, you will know what a great honour it is to be a godparent. Many of us are similarly thankful for our own godparents and for the interest that they take in us and in our lives. But I wonder how often we reflect on just what it means to be a godparent and what we might expect from a godparent for ourselves or indeed our children.

As a parish priest I always encouraged new parents to chose with care and with discretion. Looking for a godparent is about choosing someone who will take a long-term interest in a child as he or she grows, someone who they can come to trust, which might be especially helpful when children and parents fall out in teenage years. A long-term interest and someone you trust and who your child will grow to trust, someone who will set an example of living well.

Setting an example is of course in so many ways key to the relationship, someone who knows and can share life in all its fullness. That life that those of us who seek to be disciples of Jesus Christ know is to be found in Him, not life that is dull but full as God would have us live – a life lived in right relationship with God, with family and with the community.  This is why at the heart of this relationship, godparents are called to pray for their godchildren and to do all they can to bring them to confirmation and that moment when they will make for themselves the promises parents and godparents make on their behalf at their baptism. When they pledge to turn from sin and turn to Christ who is the way, the truth and the life.

It is indeed life we share, and the ministry of a godparent might be seen as an exemplar of the ministry of the whole Church.  As godparents pray for their godchildren in our parishes and communities, we are to pray for those among who we live. The life of our Church is to be an example of what it is to live and to share the values of the Kingdom we seek – the Kingdom of God’s rule of justice, mercy and peace.

Next week, Bishop Rachel will write more about our Big Mission Weekend with Archbishop Justin for which we are preparing at the end of this month. That weekend will write big indeed what we are called to do and to be, each and every day. Godparent or not, this is a ministry in which we are all invited to share, being bearers of the Good News, sharing the love of God in Jesus Christ.  A task in which we are all invited to join and a weekend that I hope and I pray will renew us in this joyful calling.

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