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The Joy of (God)Parenting

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    http://www.tonawanda-news.com/features/gnnlifestyle_story_033173401.html?keyword=topstory RELIGION: The Joy of (God)Parenting By Kevin Purdy The Rev. Paul
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 3, 2007
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      RELIGION: The Joy of (God)Parenting
      By Kevin Purdy

      The Rev. Paul Solberg wants couples to know that
      being a godparent is more than just showing up
      for a ceremony and buying an outfit for a newborn.

      “Their primary responsibility is to be there for
      them, and to pray for them, every day, forever,”
      Solberg said. “But it goes beyond that. It goes
      toward making a fully formed person, to helping a
      child find their path ... it’s 18, maybe 21 years
      of responsibility, and it goes farther than that, really.”

      In theory, this is something any parent who
      intends to raise their child within their faith
      should know, and which their intended godmother
      and godfather should have explained to them.

      But, like many ceremonies and traditions that
      become almost instinctive traditions, the true
      meaning and weight of the role of godparents can
      easily be lost. That’s why he’ll preside over a
      service Sunday at St. George Antiochian Orthodox
      Church that focuses on the roles and rewards of
      being a godparent, followed by a godparents brunch afterward.

      Parents and godparents of each of the 13 or so
      children baptized in the past year’s time at the
      church on Saunders Settlement Road in Lewiston
      received a “Godparenting 101” pamphlet. The
      pamphlet lays out many of the Christian ideals in
      choosing a godparent — somebody enthusiastic
      about the faith of the child, not chosen out of
      guilt or obligation, and the Orthodox-specific
      requirements — and the efforts expected of the
      chosen. Maintaining contact with the child,
      leading by example and praying for the child to
      be watched over and guided are key elements.

      Solberg said, however, that godparents shouldn’t
      be seen as the only members of the church that
      have a role in a child’s proper upbringing.

      “If our parishioners are imitators of Christ, if
      they are concerned with the wellness of every
      family in our church ... then how much better it
      is that it’s not just two people, it’s everybody
      who wants to see this child grow and find their path,” Solberg said.

      When St. George member Maria Cosen, 26, had her
      daughter Katherine Mary Cosen nearly seven weeks
      ago, choosing a godfather took less than a day.
      Her brother, Ricco Slaiman, 30, of Niagara Falls,
      is a member of the parish council and lives close
      enough to her Hamburg home to be a presence in her life.

      Slaiman said he’s familiar with the real meaning
      of the godfather role, but doesn’t think it’s
      more of a burden than most parishioners can bear.

      “Leading by example, I think, is the most
      important thing,” he said. “It’s my job to help
      (Katherine Mary) built a spiritual relationship
      with her church ... to be there if she needs my help.”

      Slaiman didn’t have to buy an outfit for his new
      goddaughter at her baptism on Jan. 28 — Cosen
      used the garment that has passed now through four generations of her family.

      He did, however, have to be ready for the moment
      when Katherine Mary was placed in the water three times.

      “She was good the whole way through the ceremony,
      up until she reached the water,” Mary Cosen said.
      “Other than that, everything went great.”

      Tonawanda News
      435 River Road; North Tonawanda, NY 14120
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