When someone comes to the rectory inquiring about baptizing a child, if I do not recognize the parent, the first question I ask is, “Are you an active, registered member of any parish?” Why is it important that the family of a child who is going to be baptized is a member of a faith community?
The Code of Canon Law says in canon 868 – §1. For the licit baptism of an infant it is necessary that (2o) there be a founded hope that the infant will be brought up in the Catholic religion. The reason of this canon could be based in today’s gospel of Matthew.
In today’s gospel we hear about these two sons who were asked by their father to work in the vineyard. One says that he will not go, but went. The other one says I will go, but he did not go. The chief priests and the elders of the people answered to Jesus’ question about which son did his father’s will, “the first.” What really matters is not only to say, “Yes, we will bring the child into the practice of the faith,” but to do it. That is why at Blessed Sacrament Parish we request the family to have an official connection with a faith community. If they do not go to any church, then I will invite them to register in our parish, to come for at least four Sundays, one month, to use the parish envelopes and then, we will happily baptize the infant. We cannot force anyone to come to celebrate his or her faith on Sundays, but at least we need to try.
Some people want to baptize their children because it is a tradition in their family. Some others do it because grandma is constantly reminding about it. It does not matter what is the motivation, but if a family does not plan to practice their faith, to bring that child into the life of the church, it does not make any sense. It is like the second son in today’s gospel: “Yes, sir,” but did not go. Celebrating the Sunday Eucharist is not the only thing we have to do as Catholics, but it is the most important one. We need to do a daily prayer, live the gospel values (kindness, generosity, compassion, mercy, etc.), and celebrate the other sacraments like Confession, Communion, Confirmation and Marriage. It is about living as disciples of Jesus. Let us ask the Lord that especially young families in our parish have the willingness to do doing the Father’s will, so they may enter into the kingdom of God.
As we announced last weekend, I am going through a ministerial evaluation. By diocesan policies, all active priests must participate in this approximately every five years. We need the assistance of our parishioners by taking a survey of 24 questions; it will take just a few minutes to complete. If you have not done so, please take some time to do it. It will help me very much to become a better priest. You can do it by getting one of the copies from the back of our churches, or by going to the internet in a computer or smart phone to archchicago.org and following the directions that you will find in this bulletin.
During the last month, we have been replacing radiator steam traps in all our buildings. We spent around $16,000, but after this investment, we will save around $12,000 a year. So, in a little more than a year, we will get back that money in savings and we will not be wasting energy.
Your brother in Christ,