Editor’s note: Today, we welcome new monthly contributor Jay Cuasay. I had the good fortune of meeting Jay at a conference recently and am thrilled that he accepted my invitation to blog with us! Please join me in welcoming Jay to CatholicMom.com and check out his blog at www.pastoralwing.com. LMH
Easter plunges us into the life, death, and resurrection of the Lord. St. Paul famously says that in our Baptism we are plunged into Jesus’ death so that just as Christ has died, so too we may rise to new life with Him. As the Spring season begins to take shape, we leave behind the recent memories of waving palms, snow falling at the start of Holy Week, the incense and candles, and the myriad of activities compressed into “Spring Break.” We see the buds beginning to form, bulbs breaking ground, and are eager for a handful of months before the Holy Spirit is poured forth at Pentecost (and our community pools are opened).
Signs of Life Abound
Here in our parish setting, it is worth taking a look at what we have come through together. It may not be the 40 years of wandering in the desert, but during the Easter Vigil adults and children from the English and Spanish speaking communities who had spent the past year (or more) in the catechumenal process celebrated full initiation into the Catholic church through Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Communion. These formerly unbaptized people met weekly and celebrated several Rites during our Church Year: welcomed first as Catechumens in Advent, enrolled as The Elect in Lent, and now are fully catholic Neophytes.
They look to us to deepen and continue their journey as followers of the Risen One. We look to them as an inspiration for what God continues to do and the Church continues to celebrate in our midst through these sacraments of Christian Initiation.
24 such people formed a long line that stretched back from the baptismal font to the altar to be washed free of original sin and to become a new creation, an adopted child of God. They were clothed in a new garment, a dazzling white robe, and given a Christ candle lit directly from blessed fires of the Easter Vigil. As they walked from the font at the church entrance to the altar at the front of the church, we renewed our own Baptismal vows and were sprinkled with Holy Water.
Once this group reached the front of the church, there were joined by four other adult who were already baptized in a different Christian denomination. These four made a Profession of Faith and were welcomed into full communion with the Catholic church in front of the altar. A total of 30 people then spread out across the entire front of the altar to be Confirmed. During the Liturgy of the Eucharist all were later invited first to receive Holy Communion.
From Easter to Pentecost
Since Easter is not a day but a season, we continue to share in the outpouring of the Risen Lord. In our parish, this not only means continuing until the final days of the Religious Education Year, but it also means continuing the celebration of sacraments.
In the Spanish Community, other adults preparing for Confirmation will celebrate this sacrament inside a mass closer to Pentecost. Also in May, children will celebrate First Communion in the English and Spanish communities. Other adults preparing for Confirmation will celebrate this sacrament at the Cathedral on the eve of Pentecost or on Pentecost Sunday itself (not to mention our 100 Confirmandi waiting to celebrate in the Fall). This is truly a season full of God’s outpouring of grace upon grace.
We hold in prayer all those newly received into the Church as fully initiated Catholics this Easter Season as well as those preparing to celebrate sacraments soon. We give thanks to God for our part in their journey and for the wonderful experience of God in our midst in these sacraments.
Copyright 2013 Jay Cuasay