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What Gifts?

I have been reading a wonderful book titled The Healing Wisdom of Africa by Malidoma Patrice Somé. In his reflections, the author shares his belief that nature, ritual, and community must work together in order for any one of them to be effective.
In Somé’s village of Dagara in Burkina Faso, when a woman announces that she is pregnant everyone gets excited. He writes, “Everyone asks, ‘Why is this person being sent to us at this time? What gifts will this person have that our community needs?’ A special ritual is held to answer those questions.”
I could not help but reflect on how the spirit of this ritual would resonate within the celebration of the sacrament of baptism in our parishes. What if when a baptism is celebrated within a Sunday Mass setting we asked ourselves, “Why is this person coming into our parish? What gifts will this person bring? What gifts have we to offer this person?” What a world of possibilities would open before us. This child, young person, or adult, holds great promise for the life of our parish.
So rather than sit back and groan that the Mass is taking longer than usual, let’s pray for the newly baptized and his or her family members. Let’s ask ourselves how we will support this new life coming into the parish. What an opportunity!
Sister Pat is a member of the RENEW staff, a Dominican Sister, and loves working with Young Adults as the program manager of Theology on Tap.

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