that transmit the Faith to their children

After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened for him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, saying, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased’” [Mt 3:16-17].

The Baptism of Christ

The Baptism of Christ

At the time of his baptism, Jesus was an adult, approaching thirty years of age. Sinless though he was, he chose to be baptized to show us just how sanctifying and cleansing baptism is for our lives and our souls. From what we can determine by his thorough understanding of Scripture and how he lived his life, we can reasonably surmise that his parents, Mary and Joseph, faithfully took on the responsibility and duty to teach their son about God and His commandments. They took their duty as parents seriously and with great devotion.

On January 12th of this year, the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, Pope Francis baptized thirty-two infants. In speaking to the parents of the newly baptized he told them “I would just tell you this: you are the ones that transmit the Faith, the transmitters; you have a duty to pass on the Faith to these children… Always think of how to transmit the Faith to the children.”

Whenever a child is baptized and becomes a member of the body of Christ, the parents are asked what they seek of God’s Church for their child, to which they respond “Baptism.” The celebrant then admonishes the parents that in having their child baptized they are accepting the responsibility of raising and educating their child in the practice of the Faith and that it is their solemn duty to bring their child up to keep God’s commandments as Christ taught us, by loving God and our neighbor.

Sadly, many parents conveniently overlook or fail to truly live their faith and thus fail to pass on the Faith to their children. Their promise to bear the responsibility to raise their child in the Faith is forgotten almost as soon as it takes for them to leave the church. Far too many children and their parents have become CINOs (Catholics In Name Only,) stating their religious affiliation as ‘Catholic’ while admitting to no active participation in religious services, activities, or educational opportunities.

A recent report indicates that the numbers of children being baptized in the Church is dwindling at an alarming rate. Between 1995 and 2004 “there was about one Catholic infant baptism for every four births in the U.S. … But after 2004 the pattern begins to shift with several years of more births and fewer Catholic infant baptisms.”

There are several reasons that support this decline in Catholic baptisms, none of them particularly palatable:

  1. Catholic parents are less likely to see the need to baptize their children than in the past.
  2. Catholic marriages – and marriages as a whole –continue to dwindle.
  3. Catholic school enrollment has declined and continues to drop, decreasing the opportunities for religious education.

If parents never let God into their lives, how can they expect their children to know Him and His love? Parents never forget that you gave your word at baptism and you always keep your word, don’t you?

Deacon Chuck

About the author: Deacon Chuck

Deacon Chuck was ordained into the permanent diaconate on September 17, 2011, in the ministry of service to the Diocese of Reno and assigned to St. Albert the Great Catholic Community. He currently serves as the parish bulletin editor and website administrator. Deacon Chuck continues to serve the parish of Saint Albert the Great Catholic Community of the Diocese of Reno, Nevada. He is the Director of Adult Faith Formation and Homebound Ministries for the parish, conducts frequent adult faith formation workshops, and is a regular homilist. He currently serves as the bulletin editor for the parish bulletin. He writes a weekly column intended to encompass a broad landscape of thoughts and ideas on matters of theology, faith, morals, teachings of the magisterium and the Catholic Church; they are meant to illuminate, illustrate, and catechize the readers and now number more than 230 articles. His latest endeavor is "Colloqui: A journal for restless minds", a weekly journal of about 8 pages similar in content to bulletin reflections. All his reflections, homilies, commentaries, and Colloqui are posted and can be found on his website: http://deaconscorner.org. Comments are always welcome and appreciated. He is the author of two books: "The Voices of God: hearing God in the silence" which offers the reader insights into how to hear God’s voice through all of the noise that surrounds us; and "Echoes of Love: Effervescent Memories" which through a combination of prose and verse provides the reader with a wonderful journey on the way to discovering forever love. He regularly speaks to groups of all ages and size and would welcome the opportunity to speak to your group.

1 Comment

  1. Avatar

    Excellent article!

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