By JINA AMBA
On Sunday, Sept 23, 170 children, youths and adults from Port Moresby’s Morata community came forward to receive the sacrament of baptism at St Martin de Porres Parish.
The baptism began with Mass during which parish priest Fr Vinod D’mello shared in his homily about the importance of the sacrament of baptism and its necessity for the beleivers’ lives.
“Every sacrament brings the graces and blessings of God in our lives and so does the sacrament of baptism.”
He also shared about the four symbols used during the sacrament of baptism by which grace and blessings are experienced by believers: “Water with the baptismal formula (I baptise you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit) cleanses away of all our sins and makes us children of God; the oil of Chrism which seals us with the Holy Spirit and makes us temples of the Holy Spirit; the white cloth which makes us members of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church; and the lighted candle helps us to walk the path of Jesus to build up the Kingdom of God among us.”
He also emphasised and called our attention to the notion that, “Jesus won this heritage for us to be the children of God by His sacrifice on the cross by pouring out the water and blood from His side when he was being speared. It’s free for us but Jesus paid the price for it so that we may be members of the Kingdom of God, Kingdom of Heaven.”
He also helped people to have a correct understanding of baptism of children.
“Some Christians do not want their children to be baptised. They think that children cannot make a promise to follow Jesus Christ. Only adults can keep the promises of baptism. But Jesus loves the little children and welcomes them to himself. Even Jesus was not happy with his disciples when they stopped children from coming to him.”
He continued saying, “It is our Catholic belief that when a child receives baptism, it receives the life of God and becomes a child of God. It becomes the part of the Christian community and receives the strength to win over the power of sin.
“St. Luke in the Acts of the Apostles 16: 15-33 says that when the apostles preached the whole household or family got baptised. That means even the babies or children in the houses or families got baptised.”
He invited all parents saying, “All the parents should give baptism to their children quickly because this is the gift parents and the church can give to the child. The parents should teach their children the Catholic faith and life of the Christian Community.”
Joseph Maka, 27, who received the baptism said, “I had been doing criminals activities and was also addicted to drugs. My community used to call me ‘drug body’. I did not belong to any church. One day Father (D’mello) happened to visit my community. He smiled and shook hands with me and invited me to come to church. It really changed my life.
“Because till today many swore at me and called me bad names but Father was very good to me. Today, I received the sacrament of Baptism and I belong to God. A full stop to bad things now. Many people today smiled at me and congratulated me. I am happy and will always come to the church at Morata.”
Clara Sam, a 32-year-old mother who got baptised said, “I married a Catholic. I had differences with my husband. Our married life was not going on well. A spiritual group named Legion of Mary Mamas from Catholic Church regularly visited our family. One of them gave me a string with beads called the rosary. Some of their group members were in my community and also they are my friends. They prayed every day with me. Now I know to pray the rosary. Many problems in my life are settled now. I decided to receive baptism. I am happy to be a Catholic.”
Wala Kinara, a 65-year-old mother who got baptized said, “I was always frightened of sanguma that if I go to any church it (sanguma) will eat my heart and I may die. That’s why I did not join any church.
“My Basic Christian Community leader, Elias Eno Bare told me, ‘When you are baptised, you are free from the clutches of sanguma and you will become a child of God. God marks you with His seal that is the seal of the Holy Spirit. After that sanguma or nogut spirit has no power over me. I got baptised. I am free now. I am happy now.”
Fr D’mello congratulated 170 people who got baptised and welcomde to be members Catholic Church and a part of St Martin de Porres Parish community. He invited the congregation to welcome other people who have not received the sacrament of baptism in their community to receive it.
By JINA AMBA