I had a wonderful weekend here in Chicago. Glad to be home and not on the road for a change. The highlight of the weekend came yesterday at the 11:00 A.M. Mass at Ascension Church in Oak Park, a suburb of Chicago.
I was privileged to be the godfather of Robert Andrew Xavier Kalemba, the son of Keith Kalemba, one of our music editors here, and his wife, Clare.
The folks at Ascension know how to celebrate well. Under the musical leadership of David Anderson, vice-president over at GIA, the liturgy was uplifting, drew the assembly into the singing, and provided a wonderful moment of celebrating the new birth of this new child of God. I hope that the members of Ascension parish realize how truly blessed they are.
In preparation for the baptism, I have been wondering over the past several weeks what an appropriate gift I could bring for Robert Andrew Xavier. I decided on a crucifix and while in Oberammergau, Germany a few weeks ago, I purchased a hand crafted wood crucifix. Wrapped in the box was a letter I wrote to this small child, hoping that he might read it from time to time as his faith life unfolds.
It struck me while standing there at his baptism yesterday just how challenging it is to live the Christian life in our American society. When entrusted with the baptism candle, these are the words in the rite of baptism: "Parents and godparents, this light is entrusted to you to be kept burning brightly. These children of yours have been enlightened by Christ. They are to walk always as children of the light. May they keep the flame of faith alive in their hearts. When the Lord comes, may they go out to meet him with all the saints in the heavenly kingdom."
Keeping the light of faith burning brightly is no small task. Yesterday Robert Andrew Xavier began his life's pilgrimage of faith; a pilgrim's march that began at the font at Ascension church in Oak Park, Illinois, and will hopefully end when he joins the saints, with that flame of faith burning brightly in his heart, as he goes to meet the Lord. This child has lots going for him, primarily a strong Catholic family and parish environment to nurture his faith. My hope and prayer for this little one is that, as his Catholic life unfolds, he will continue to be strengthened through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Robert Andrew Xavier, you have put on Christ, in him you have been baptized. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.