Naming a child is an important decision and how it sounds is not the only thing parents have to consider, said Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, formerly prelate of Manila.
He said naming a child is an important process because a name is a “sacred” thing.
“The name is not just a label,” said the cardinal, now head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.
“The name of a person contains the very identity of a person,” he said during Mass at the Pontifical Filipino College in Rome on January 1, Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.
The cardinal said he was “hurt” when he learned that children, especially those born in refugee camps that he visited, were not given “the dignity of names.”
Cardinal Tagle said it is illegal to give children of refugees a name because they don’t have an identity as far as the host country is concerned.
How are the children called? They have numbers, said the prelate. “I was shocked that that still exists,” he said. “That’s why I realized how sacred the name is.”
As the new year comes, he said it is common for people to ask God for blessings of a better year ahead.
Oftentimes, however, people associate blessings with material things, said the cardinal.
He reminded the faithful that “it is God who blesses people … and the name of God is the blessing.”
“When God comes, God saves. God does not destroy but saves,” he said.