Tagle leads baptism of 400 children from Metro’s poor families
Manila archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle on Saturday morning led the baptism of around 400 children from Metro Manila’s slums in a bid to bring them closer to God.
The children, whose ages ranged from two months to 13 years old, have not yet received the important sacrament of baptism which would formally make them part of the Catholic Church.
They were all beneficiaries of the Tulay ng Kabataan Foundation, coming from slum areas in Tondo, Manila, and the Navotas fishport which was razed by a huge fire last week.
Gloria Recio, assistant executive director of the TNK Foundation, noted that parents from poor families are often unable to have their children baptized mainly due to poverty.
“Most of them did not have any money, while others say they didn’t have the time. Others simply did not have anyone to guide them to have their kids baptized,” she said.
Asked why baptism was not a priority for these families, Recio said: “For them, survival came first, they needed to have food on the table every day.”
Saturday’s activity is the fifth time since 2002 that the TNK Foundation partnered with the Catholic Church to conduct a mass baptism, although Saturday’s baptism was the largest so far.
Aside from a mass baptism, the children and their families were treated to packed lunch back in their communities and were also given sacks of rice.
The parents or guardians of the children chose their own set of godparents for their children.
The mass baptism is one of the TNK Foundations programs for poor children, apart from programs catering to health assistance, nutrition and feeding programs, and pre-school education.
In his homily, Tagle reminded both parents and godparents to help their young charges grow upright in their faith in God, which is their primary duty to the children.
The prelate noted that while it is important to guide a child in school, in play and in the family, parents must not forget to introduce their child to Jesus Christ.
“That is part of caring and raising a child. Introduce Jesus Christ, how He obeyed God, how He cared for others, how He accepted His fellow man, especially those unloved by society,” Tagle said.
Tagle said Saturday’s baptism could be considered as another birthday for the children since they were formally welcomed into the family of the Catholic Church.
The Manila archbishop also reminded godparents of their real duty to their godchildren, which is not giving out presents and cash during Christmas and other special occasions.
The real role of godparents, he stressed, is to guide their godchildren by being good examples to them and by aiding the children’s parents in raising the children.
Tagle warned parents against treating their “compadre” and “comadre” as sources of gifts and cash for their children.
“Godparents are there to be the partners of the parents. We are celebrating not commerce or gifts, but the spiritual growth of a child. We are celebrating the Son of God who is loving especially towards children,” he added.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.