“These children today also come here with ‘bare souls’ to receive God’s justification, Jesus’ strength, the strength to move forward in life…Your children will receive their Christian identity today. And you, parents and godparents, must guard this identity.”

– Pope Francis

The first grandchild in my immediate family, a boy, came auspiciously on my mom’s birthday 18 years ago. My older sister and I were honored to be asked to be the godparents to Chase. While I’ve never discussed it with my older brother, and despite feeling honored, I never asked why I was chosen, nor did I assume it was because of my being “the super Catholic one” among our four siblings. Afterall, my lovely sister-in-law is an only child, and not Catholic, and my younger brother at the time was still in college - so of course my sister and I would be the godparents.

Over the last two decades, I’ve done what I imagine most godparents do. I’ve gone to the sacraments. I’ve slipped them some cash or a Chipotle gift card on holidays or special occasions. I’ve showed up when invited and made sure to have a conversation whenever we are together. But life moved fast as I welcomed my own four children, and I became engrossed in my work which requires frequent travel. It feels like it’s more than a full-time job just keeping up with where my own kids are and their needs. Given my brother and sister-in-law’s gifts and talents, it was never a surprise that Chase would be an excellent athlete. I was aware that as he entered high school, he was playing in a lacrosse tournament somewhere every weekend. However, it wasn’t until last fall in his junior year when I heard that on the official day college coaches could start calling, that they all called Chase. In the flurry of a few short weeks, he had committed to the University of North Carolina, one of the premier lacrosse teams in the country.

To be honest, despite being thrilled for him, I was ashamed. I was ashamed I had no idea that he was that good. Yes, I’ve had a lot going on in the past few years. Yes, I think Chase knows that I would do anything for him and yes, as a graduating senior, he has become an incredible man with a bright future. But what have I done for him in this role that I was given? When I held that candle at his baptism and said yes to a bunch of responsibilities, was I serious with my yes? In life and leadership, what other roles have I said yes to without owning the responsibility that comes with it? Despite meeting the world’s expectations of what might be required, do I take the time to discern what God is calling me to in that role? Do I honor the honor of the titles I hold? In the titles given to me by my baptism – child of God and disciple of Jesus – do I take for granted the grace that it brings and the demands it calls for?

As I watched Chase score an incredible goal at his last home lacrosse game toward the championship and saw him lead his team off the field in victory as the captain, I was convicted to make sure to be a person in Chase’s adult life that was worthy of my title, and not just, as the epic trilogy suggests, on the day of my daughter’s wedding. May any of us who are blessed to be called godparents, reach out to those children of God in the week ahead and let them know what that title, and what they mean to us.

by Daniel Cellucci

June 10, 2024

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