by Béda Kaji-Ngulu (Translated by the Archdiocese of Montreal)
On Saturday, October 28, 2023, the actors of evangelization involved in baptismal ministry met to advance the issue of pastoral care for the baptism of little children. A very intriguing theme appealed to their hearts and minds: “Behold! I make all things new… The community: the place to fully live out our baptism.”
An excellent theme! But how were they to combine their pastoral action in this dynamic of newness and experience truly community baptisms if they themselves did not begin by contemplating the deep meaning of their own baptism?
The organizers, recognizing the relevance of the question, felt it would be useful to invite participants to rediscover the grace of the baptismal sacrament and its link to the community. Bishop Alain Faubert offered his assistance in opening the eyes of our understanding and recommending some avenues for reflection. In his welcoming remarks, he highlighted the most important fruits of baptism, enlightening and enriching our understanding of the concepts of community, communion and the priest. The divine nature is given to us as a gift to share, as we in turn become members of the body of Christ, taking part in the priesthood of Christ and his prophetic and royal mission...
With the day’s activities interconnected by this common thread, the participants began by approaching the proposed topic through prayer. A magnificent Taizé chorus of “Adsumus Sancte Spiritus. Veni ad nos, adesto nobis” led them in communion with the Church gathered in Rome at the Synodal Assembly. As they joined in the hymn, they were transported by the Spirit to focus their contemplation on the places that appear throughout the ritual of the baptismal celebration: the door, the ambo, the font, the altar. A beautiful Visio Divina enveloping them in this event that gives us birth in divine life.
Following the prayer, it was time for each individual group, according to its particular dynamics, to circle back to what Bishop Alain Faubert had just proposed and rediscover together the magnificent gift that is baptism.
Once the workshop was finished, it was time for spiritual conversation. The subject was Baptism, an action taken by and for the community. With its emphasis on the community aspect of baptism, this topic mobilized participants to look more deeply into question their practices and find ways to improve them by opening themselves up to new experiences.
In a fitting conclusion to the day, the actors of evangelization came together to share their thoughts about the baptismal ministry, again focusing on the ritual. Reflections, prayers and actions were proposed to deepen the understanding of what the sacrament of baptism represents, to develop the role of community involvement and, above all, to recognize the profound meaning of baptism.