On Holy Saturday many catechumens (those not yet baptized) and, in some parishes, candidates (baptized Christians) around the globe made their final profession of faith and joined us in full communion through the Sacraments of Initiation at the Easter Vigil Mass. For catechumens this includes Baptism, as well as Confirmation and Eucharist for all joining the Church. The Easter Vigil is a very fitting time for this celebration to occur. As we rejoice in Christ´s passage from death to resurrection, these new members of our church journey from the death of their old lives to the new life of their walk with our Lord, Jesus Christ, within our Catholic Christian community.
Most of these new Catholics went through several months of R.C.I.A. - the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults - in preparation for their conversion, their journey toward becoming Catholic. R.C.I.A. is a process that includes various stages beginning with the Period of Inquiry and ending with the Period of Mystagogy.
Through Lent we saw these catechumens and candidates each week at Mass being sent forth after the Liturgy of the Word to ponder the readings from Scripture they had just heard. We saw them during the various Rites - from the Rite of Acceptance through the Scrutiny Rites - professing their desire to join us, and the faith living within them. Through their journey of conversion we too are called to examine our own hearts and continue in our own conversion and growth in our faith.
Now they are fully united with us through Christ, but just as our own journey of faith continues to grow throughout our lives, so does theirs. These new Catholics just completed celebrating the Sacraments of Initiation on Holy Saturday and are now in the midst of the Period of Mystagogy. This stage lasts through the Easter season until Pentecost Sunday. During this time they reflect on what they´ve just gone through, as well as the Easter mysteries and what the future holds.
Do you know who these new Catholic Christians are at your parish? Could the woman sitting beside you at Mass this Sunday be one of them? Have you welcomed them?
I´d like to extend a warm welcome to all new Catholics throughout the land, may you (and all Catholics and Christians everywhere) find the richness and spiritual growth to lead you closer and closer to our Lord everyday for the rest of eternity.
you are able to accomplish immeasurably
than we can ask or imagine.
Make us grasp fully, together with all the
the breadth and the length, the height and
of Christ´s love, which surpasses all
in order that we may be completely filled
with the utter fullness of God.
from whom every family in heaven and
earth derives its origin,
grant us, out of your glorious riches,
to be strengthened through the Spirit
for the development of our inner selves,
and to have Christ dwelling through faith
in our hearts
and to be rooted and grounded in love.
We ask this through the same Christ our Lord.
Adapted from Ephesians 3
Peace in Christ,