MANILA Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle reminded godparents of the 400 newly baptized children from the cities of Manila and Navotas that guiding their godchildren is the best gift they could give them.

In his Homily at the baptismal ceremony for the beneficiaries of Tulay ng Kabataan (TNK) Foundation, a church-based organization helping the less fortunate, at the Manila Cathedral on Saturday, noted that the role of godparents is to help parents to raise of their goddaughter/godson and to be responsible and God-fearing individuals.

"Ang papel ng ninong at ninang ay maging katuwang ng magulang, gabay. Kahit wala kayo maibigay na pakimkim, regalo ang inyong pagtulong sa magulang, ang inyong panalangin at mabuting halimbawa, mabuting asal, ang inyong pagpaalala sa mga biyaya kapag sila ay lumaki 'yan ang inyong tungkulin," he said.

The cardinal added, "Ang kumare at kumpare ay karamay parang magulang. Kasi ang ipinagdiriwang ay hindi naman tungkol sa komersyo, hindi lang tungkol sa nakabalot at mga bitbit kundi ang paglago sa buhay pananampalataya."

Likewise, he urged the parents to introduce Jesus Christ to their children and to inform them about his teachings.

"Ipakilala si Hesus. Ituro ang landas ni Hesus. Ituro kung sino si Hesus naging masunurin siya sa Diyos. Ituro kung papaano si Hesus nagmalasakit sa kapwa. Ituro kung paano si Hesus tumanggap sa ibat ibang tao lalo na sa mga hindi minamahal ng lipunan. Ipakilala si Hesus," Tagle said.

The head of the Archdiocese of Manila together with several priests including Fr. Matthieu Dauchez, executive director of TNK, baptized the 400 children aged ranging from two months old to 13 years old.

Gloria Recio, TNK assistant executive director, said that Saturday's event is the fifth time and the biggest, in terms of number, baptism they have conducted.

"Pang 5th na ito na bigyagan pero dati sa Edsa Shrine ang venue. Ito pinakamalaki dati mga 200 children lang," she said.

The first mass baptism was held in 2002.

This year's beneficiaries are from Tondo, Manila and Market 3 in Navotas.

She added that the children were chosen after conducting surveys in the said areas.

"Meron kami program sa urban poor scavenger children program. Nakabase kami sa area, meron kami mga centers so during the family profile survey na ginagawa namin every 6 months napansin namin most ng mga bata hindi baptized. Nagka assessment kami na, nag suggest kay Fr. Matthieu kung pwede magkamass baptism," Recio said.

She added that the reason why most of the children have not been baptized for lack of money and time.

"Ang dahilan walang oras at pera at wala nag push, wala naggabay sa kanila para pabigyagan ang mga bata," the TNK official said. (FP/SunStar Philippines)