Everyday I come to work at Gentog, and I interact with children, seniors and family members. Every Saturday my husband and I attend mass at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church and I interact with friends and neighbors. Most days are routine. Some days are special.
Last Saturday when Jim and I arrived at mass we saw that there would be 2 children baptized. That always makes mass a little bit special, and these two children were adorable. One was a baby, the other a child of 2 or 3 dressed in a very sharp white suit. At the beginning of mass we stood to welcome these two children and their families. We pledged, with the rest of the congregation, to be there for these new Christians and for their parents. This is a standard part of baptisms in our church. Honestly, it’s often a pledge I make without giving it a lot of thought.
When the homily was complete, Father Les stood and beckoned the children and their families to the altar. The boy in the suit was so adorable. He was being held at the altar while his mom and godparents listened to Father’s instructions. The boy, though, peaked around the head of his god father and smiled at the congregation. Jim saw this, and commented on how cute he was. As Father Les called his family forward and uttered the words “Ryan, I baptize you in the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” I realized who this child was. I said to Jim, “This is OUR Ryan from Gentog.”
I remembered speaking to his mom weeks before about his upcoming baptism. She was so excited anticipating the occasion. She was clearly thrilled to be bringing her child to her beloved church. And here she stood with him today, looking so proud. I thought back to the pledge at the beginning of mass. I had pledged to be there for this child, and I now knew that these were not empty words. Our Gentog is a place where he learns every day about the love of God. It’s a place where his mom feels safe leaving her child, knowing that he will be loved and cared for. In fact, every day at Gentog we try to live our faith as we care for the children and seniors in our care. I feel a new layer of responsibility now, as I realize that when I pledged to help Ryan and his mom, I was really pledging to continue to be there for all of the children who come to Gentog. This is my calling, my pledge, and my daily prayer.
God bless you, little Ryan. We’re here for you.