The 18th March Project – Post 22

It’s my godmother’s birthday today, so I’m going to take another stab at explaining the concept of godparenthood to my rakhi brother.

What’s the point in godparents?

In Christianity, when a person enters the faith through the sacrament of baptism, there is at least one person responsible for the spiritual well being of the new Christian.

Usually, people born into Catholicism are baptized soon after birth. Our parents are primarily responsible for guiding us spiritually. They promise during their nuptial mass to raise their children in keeping with the tenets of the Faith.

Godparents are appointed as a fail-safe – if the parents can’t look after the child, it can become the godparent(s)’s responsibility to do so. The role is meant to be spiritual, but it can also be material and emotional, depending on the situation.

Are there any rules about who can be a godparent?

If we’re talking about the Catholic Church – yes, of course!

One of the biggies: is if s/he is not Catholic, s/he is considered a witness to your baptism, rather than a godparent.

Ideally, a godparent shouldn’t be a crappy human being, but it’s been known to happen.

There are more rules, but let’s not go into them here.

So, does the godparent have to be a relative? Who can you be a godparent to?

A godparent does not have to be related to you by blood or marriage.

In my opinion, my cohort sees becoming a godparent as a rite of passage. It’s also something some of us feel entitled to – for instance, we expect that we will be godparents to the children of our siblings or close cousins or best friends.

How many godchildren can you have?

You take on as many as you can handle. And how many you can handle really depends on how you define being a godparent.

Some godparents are involved in their godchildren’s lives, others don’t make an appearance post the baptism. This does also depend on the relationship the godparents have with the parents.

As of now, I have just one godchild. My mother’s elder brother and his wife had nearly 10 godchildren between them , I think.

Hope this Guide to Godparenting helps you understand us better, Bhai.

Happy birthday, Goms!

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The 18th March Project – Post 19

Today marks 30 years since I was christened.

I recently had the chance to be a tour guide through my version of my faith.

I bumped into a colleague of mine while I was on my way to church. He asked if he could tag along. Of course I said yes; is our faith not meant to be welcoming?

He is a curious person, and never hesitates to ask questions. I’m sure our filters are set to different levels. Perhaps some of what he asked would be considered offensive to some people; I don’t think I found it offensive because, to me, faith and religion should be open to discussion.

I’m hardly the most religious of people, yet when he asked why I go to church if no one was watching, it felt like I was exposing a little piece of my soul. I answered honestly – I go to satisfy the part of my soul that needs nurturing from time to time. I don’t go every weekend, though I do try to.

Why isn’t there a big cross on top of the church? Because, from what I’ve been told, we are not allowed to have one. We have freedom to worship; we don’t need to advertise further.

Can he hand out Bibles at the metro? Er, no, we wouldn’t want to get in trouble for attempting to convert people.

How come you have to pay for food inside the church compound? Why isn’t it free? There might be more Christians if it were… Ah well, we’re already the biggest parish- perhaps we don’t need to bring people in that way. And anyway, hasn’t Christianity used that tactic already?

I told him a little about how a Mass is structured. He wanted to know if the priest speaks, or if it’s only readings from the Bible and singing. Does the priest only tell people what to do, or speak of fire and brimstone and judgement? Yes, the priest speaks, and there are readings, and there is singing, and there are some formulaic prayers. Priests- well, each one is different. But most speak with a thought to context. Some things never change, some rules are constant. The wiser priests know how to bring the lessons from the old days to life for us today.

It’s always interesting to see an outsider’s point of view.

 

Day 71 100words100days Write about one religious topic ( but not a controversial one)

Ramadan Kareem.

In case you aren’t aware, today is the first day of the lunar month of Ramadan during which Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. It ends with Eid al Fitr, which falls around mid-July this year.

Fasting seems to be an important part of the three major religions: many Christians observe Lent, which is followed by the celebration of Easter, and many Hindus observe Shravan, which ends, in Goa, with the celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi.

The reasons for fasting are numerous: to obtain blessings, to expiate sins, to discipline the body and mind, to respect resources whether scanty or plentiful, to build communities by bringing people together and reducing distractions.

Each religion has a set of requirements for its adherents to follow: Catholics refrain from eating meat during Lent, Muslims do not eat during hours of daylight, Hindus stay away from fish, chicken, and eggs.

Each religion also has certain groups who won’t follow all the rules, just some of them. (For instance, I don’t give up meat during Lent, because I rarely eat it anyway. Instead it’s chocolate or Facebook time, or something else that isn’t really necessary for my survival.)

People who are fasting are also encouraged to pray more.

And there I shall end before I say something that can be misconstrued as being non-PC.

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Day 72: Write a cutesy recipe (like the ones out there for Love, etc.)