April 15, 2022
Dear Sisters and Brothers in the Lord,
Pope Saint John Paul II made his first papal pilgrimage to his homeland of Poland in June 1979. As part of his itinerary, the Holy Father visited his home town of Wadowice in the south of the country.
Not surprisingly, he went to the church he had known as a boy. What was surprising to many was what he did when he got there. Pope John Paul went straight to the church’s baptismal font, knelt down and kissed it. Why? Because he knew that the most important day of his life wasn’t the day he was elected the Bishop of Rome during the previous year but the day he was baptized in June 1920.
That’s because, for a disciple of Jesus Christ, it’s from the waters of baptism that everything in life flows – both in the here-and-now and in the hereafter. And that’s my focus this week as we continue to journey as Disciples Together on the Way.
Okay. Let’s get straight to it. This week’s challenge continues our theme of devotions: I am challenging each of us to get a small bottle of holy water, bring it home and then renew our Baptismal Promises individually and, if you can, as a family.
There is usually a container of holy water in every church. Be kind as you seek this out! From antiquity, the word devotion was associated with solemn promises and sacrificing oneself — quite fitting for our challenge this week.
As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission: ‘Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the word’.” (Catechism #1213)
What are our Baptismal Promises? If you were baptized as an infant, these promises came in the form of questions from the priest celebrating your baptism which your godparents answered on your behalf. The Church also provides the opportunity for us to renew our Baptismal Promises every year at the Easter Vigil. These are the six promises to which the answer is “I do”:
First, Do you reject Satan? And all his works? And all his empty promises? Then: Do you believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of Heaven and Earth? Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary was crucified, died, and was buried, rose from the dead, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father? Finally: Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting?
May God bless you and renew you in His love, through the grace of your baptism and through His Divine Mercy this paschal season, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Yours in Christ,
+ Earl Boyea
Bishop of Lansing