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Best presents for Christmas are not the most lavish

/ 05:09 AM December 24, 2016

It’s not the lavish presents but guidance and quality time with godchildren that count the most.

This was the reminder of a Catholic priest from the Archdiocese of Manila, who stressed that more than gift-givers, the bigger role of godparents is to serve as second parents.

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Fr. Carmelo Arada Jr., assistant commissioner of the Commission on Liturgy, noted that a godparent’s task is to ensure that his godchild grows up to be a good person and Christian.

“Godparents are second parents to their godchildren, so their real role, their real gift and lasting gift to their godchildren is to guide them in their lives,” Arada said.

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The gift of God

During Christmas, Filipino children take part in “pamamasko,” visiting their “ninong” and “ninang” to bond and reconnect. Godparents, in return, give gifts to their godchildren.

Arada said the Catholic Church has no prescribed rules or guidelines in choosing gifts for godchildren.

He said what Christians celebrate during Christmas is the gift of God giving Himself to humanity through Jesus Christ.

“The first gift-giving was actually God giving Himself to us. So it is important for us to revisit what the real role of godparents are,” Arada said.

Real role of godparents

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He said that sometimes, Christmas becomes a “utilitarian” holiday as “it seems the essence of the relationship between a godparent and godchild is merely gift-giving.”

“The real role is for a godparent to journey with his godchild for a person to be a good Christian and a good person someday,” Arada said.

As to the Filipino practice of pamamasko, Arada sees it as a good way of establishing ties.

“We have to correct through formation the notion that you go to a person because you can benefit something from that person

…I hope the primary reason is not to ask for gifts or ‘aguinaldo,’ but to rekindle relationships,” he said.

Giving back

Arada also sees nothing wrong with the practice of some adults giving back to their godparents.

For the Catholic priest, it simply reflects the Filipino value of “utang na loob” or gratitude.

“When you have utang na loob toward someone who did a kindness to you, you don’t just observe it during Christmas, but for life,” he said.

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