Baptism is an expression of faith not a social rite of passage – Bishop Grech

Christians need to re-discover the beauty of baptism and the great benefits they derive from this sacrament. This was the kernel of the message which Bishop Mario Grech of Gozo passed on to the newly mintes Association of Marian Devotees (ADMA) in the Gozo diocese. We need to reflect on what happens during the conferment of baptism, said Bishop Grech as this is not simply the drenching of a child in water. “The request to have our children baptised,” said Bishop Grech, “only makes sense if this is an expression of our faith in Christ. It seems that all too frequently baptism has become a social rite of passage with a religious veneer, devoid af any spiritual content”. He referred to a recent case where a child who had just received Holy Comunion had attended only that mass in his lifetime. “What effect could baptism have had on that child and his parents?” questioned the Bishop of Gozo.

A grafting process

Bishop Grech likend baptism to the process of grafting in gardening, wherin the new scion is grafted onto the body of Christ, to grow in His image. Taking a cue from the Marian Year, Bishop Grech said that the Virgin Mary helps the Christian to resemble Christ more. Trusting in her, said Bishop Grech said, brings about a gradual change which can only happen through prayer. “Mary is the secret to sanctity” said Bishop Grech, who encouraged the faithful to trust in her.

Referring to the setting up of ADMA as a gift of the Virgin Mary on the occasion of the Marian Year, Bishop Grech entreated the faithful not to be afraid to put their trust in Mary. He recalled the message given to the children of Fatima by the Blessed Virgin who had requested special prayers to her loving heart. This, he concluded, is the key to our relationship to God.