This goes out to our OFW friends who have been ignored by their network of friends in their earlier years as a regular factory worker in Philippine provinces or an ordinary blue-collar yuppie in Makati or Ortigas.
Have you ever wondered why among all your friends you were not considered as a Ninong or Ninang (Baptismal godparent/sponsor) to another friend’s new-born child?
It’s simple, right? Because you didn’t have a high-paying job. Your salary was not even enough for you. Worse, you didn’t have a job.
Is Being A Godparent All About Money?
Sometimes you wonder, is being a godparent to a friend’s child all about having money? Things have changed since you started to earn a heftier sum of money from your work abroad.
You suddenly became a kapitbahay hearthrob. A people magnet. A chick magnet. An inuman sa kanto magnet. A not-so-familiar-face kamag-anak magnet. Kulang na lang maging ref magnet ka.
If this is the first time you are being offered by a neighbor who’s been ignoring you years ago to be their child’s godparent, ask them politely why among the many minions in your crowded neighborhood did they choose you to be the one. But don’t expect to hear something you would like to hear.
Now that Christmas is fast approaching, Filipino Christians tend to collect as many Ninongs and Ninangs as possible.
It is not a religious thing. It’s a cultural ailment brought by perceived poverty and desperation.
Being a Filipino Catholic Godparent
The Catholic Church’s Code of Canon Law No. 874.1 states that;
1) To be a sponsor, a person must be chosen by the person to be baptized, or by the parents or guardians of a child, or, in their absence, by the pastor or minister of the sacrament.
2) The sponsor must have completed his sixteenth year unless the Bishop has established another age for sponsorship, or the pastor or minister judges that a just cause warrants an exception to the rule.
3) He must be a Catholic who has received the sacraments of holy Eucharist and confirmation, and “leads a life in harmony with the faith and the role to be undertaken.”
4) Ideally, this sponsor at baptism should also be the sponsor for confirmation.
5) Note that the mother and father of the child cannot serve as sponsors.
The parents and godparents have to make three declarations:
That they turn to Christ.
That they repent of their sins.
That they renounce evil.
They are then asked three questions:
Do you believe and trust in God the Father who made Heaven and Earth?
Do you believe and trust in his Son Jesus Christ who redeemed mankind?
Do you believe and trust in his Holy Spirit who gives life to the people of God?
They must answer each of these: I believe and trust in Him.
With Being A Godparent Comes Great Responsibility
If you can not commit to being one, politely decline an invitation. Never mind the superstitious beliefs that you can not reject an offer to become a godparent.
As a godparent, you should be a faithful individual who is ready to accept the responsibility of being a part of a godchild’s life all his life.
A godparent is chosen not just because of a blood relationship or friendship or money butrather, because he or she is a trustworthy witness of the faith who will help the godchild become a good follower and believer of God.
Don’t regret refusing to be a godparent if the godchild’s parents are just looking forward to your regular monetary and material gifts to their child. You can do that without being called a Ninong or a Ninang.
But if you are honored and happy to become one, a great present that you can give to your godchild is not only money but basic and meaningful financial education.
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