The Joy of (God)Parenting
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 ... its 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. Thats why hell 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 years 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 shouldnt
be seen as the only members of the church that
have a role in a childs 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 its not just two people, its 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 hes familiar with the real meaning
of the godfather role, but doesnt think its
more of a burden than most parishioners can bear.
Leading by example, I think, is the most
important thing, he said. Its my job to help
(Katherine Mary) built a spiritual relationship
with her church ... to be there if she needs my help.
Slaiman didnt 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.
435 River Road; North Tonawanda, NY 14120