Tag Archives: RCIA

Anticipating Joy

Tonight is the Easter Vigil.

If there is one specific Mass I make it to, it is the Easter Vigil. Midnight Christmas Mass? Who needs it, I’ll go at 10:00. Chrism Mass? Boooo-ring. But Easter Vigil?!?! There is a Mass that is a must!

Every year since 2009, the Easter Vigil has been my Easter Mass of choice, and it will be until I die. The beauty of experiencing the first celebration of the Resurrection. Lighting the fire outside the church. Walking into the dark with a candle. Listening to the story of salvation through so many readings and psalms with the candle light flickering on the walls as if in a cave, a tomb.

And then! The Gloria! Its been over 40 days since we’ve sang Glory! 40 days since uttering Alleluia! The lights burst on, the bells chime out in the night, and glory of God is proclaimed, and the chill runs down your spine. You are a part of this. You are a member in the mystical body of Christ. You are now a character in this great story!

The story of God’s victory over sin and death are proclaimed. The new members of God’s Church are baptized, confirmed and taste the goodness of the Lord for the first time. The memories of my own first time flood back. My first Easter Vigil becomes real in my senses. The joy. The laughter (being Megan’s fiance for about 1.37 seconds–lol). The raw grace of God.

There is so much to be thankful for in life. The time for mourning is over. The time for hope and joy has come and is being fulfilled in this moment, in us, by Jesus Christ!

Good Ol’ Days

My favorite time of year is upon us. In one short week, Lent will be here, and we get a little melancholy as we make sacrifices and do penance for the continued conversion of our souls towards the abundant and infinite grace given to us by Jesus Christ. Being that my temperment is primarily melancholic, its like there is an entire season devoted to my personality. I love it!

Anyways, Lent is, for me, a reminder of what I’ve been through. For those who are converts you probably agree. Lent is the last leg of the journey into communion with Holy Mother Church. It is the last few weeks before the greatest moment of our lives takes place. Lent, being the barren desert that it is, reminds us of the personal struggle that has taken to get to this moment: the tears, the fights, the loneliness. It channels all of these things into the very heart of the Church’s life and gives them new meaning for us.

I will never forget the significance and the wonder of my first true Lent three years ago. My heart cries a little bit as I look at my beautiful sister who has had her own struggles as she has entered into the conversion process. She reminds me so much of what happened to me, and yet our conversions and journeys are completely different. And now she is about to enter the home stretch, and when Lent has passed and the Sacred Triduum culminates in the Easter Vigil, she will be fully Catholic. I am so very excited for her!

Day of Pentecost

Today is the day of Pentecost, the day we celebrate the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles, those men who Christ chose to build his Church and feed his sheep. It is the end of the Lent/Easter season in which we have celebrated the suffering, the crucifixion, the resurrection, and the ascension of our Lord. We do well today to pray to the Holy Spirit and ask him to come into our hearts and minds, asking him to strengthen us to hold fast to the truth of Jesus Christ in the glory of God the Father.

Bishop Aquila was the celebrant of Mass this morning at St. Mary’s and he reminded us to live by the Spirit and not by the flesh, as St. Paul does too in his epistle to the Galatians.

Now the works of the flesh are obvious: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self control. Against these there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit. Let us not be conceited, provoking one another, envious off one another.

-Galatians 5:19-26

Bishop is right, we need to live by the Spirit. Do I? Probably not. I can probably count more things in my life from the works of the flesh list than I can from the fruit of the Spirit list. I know I need to work harder at submitting to the Spirit and I am hoping that today as I am reminded of such a gift as the Spirit, that I can find the strength to do so.

But today is more than just Pentecost, but it is important to me in more ways than one. It symbolizes the ending of my first season in full communion with the Body of Christ. I survived six whole weeks and am stronger now, have found more joy than ever before, even in the midst of more persecution. But I also found out that a friend of mine will be beginning his journey into the Catholic faith this fall when he starts to take RCIA at St. Mary’s. I am so very joyful about this because in the midst of opposition that seems to only grow and never end there are more candles coming into faith, realizing that the Catholic Church is more than legitimate. I pray for him even now and I hope you will too as he prepares to prepare to be accepted into the Church next Easter.

And as we move from Easter into Ordinary Time, let us pray for the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Come, Holy Spirit, Creator blest,
and in our souls take up Thy rest;
come with Thy grace and heavenly aid
to fill the hearts which Thou hast made.
O comforter, to Thee we cry,
O heavenly gift of God Most High,
O fount of life and fire of love,
and sweet anointing from above.

Thou in Thy sevenfold gifts are known;
Thou, finger of God’s hand we own;
Thou, promise of the Father, Thou
Who dost the tongue with power imbue.

Kindle our sense from above,
and make our hearts o’erflow with love;
with patience firm and virtue high
the weakness of our flesh supply.

Far from us drive the foe we dread,
and grant us Thy peace instead;
so shall we not, with Thee for guide,
turn from the path of life aside.

Oh, may Thy grace on us bestow
the Father and the Son to know;
and Thee, through endless times confessed,
of both the eternal Spirit blest.

Now to the Father and the Son,
Who rose from death, be glory given,
with Thou, O Holy Comforter,
henceforth by all in earth and heaven. Amen.

Church in a Blizzard

I had been planning on going to Mass before it started blizzarding and so I decided I would still walk on over to the Newman Center today. The Newman Center is on the corner of campus about three blocks away from RJ. Well, I didn’t expect the horrible snow drifts and unplowed state of everything. Well it took me about 20 minutes to walk what should take about seven. Anyway, I was really glad that I went, for a couple of reasons. The first was that Fr. Cheney’s message tonight was about the structure of the Catholic Church’s leadership and why it is good. One of the things that struck me, and I had heard this before, was that in Protestant Churches, pastors are called by the congregation to lead the church. Whereas in Catholicism, pastors are called by God and then sent out to individual parishes. It gave me peace of mind and confidence in the structure that Christ laid out for his Church.

Second, when I got there I saw one of my friends Mary, who I haven’t seen in awhile. I sat with her to discover that she too is not Catholic, but is becoming Catholic as well!!! I was so surprised and excited to find out that she is also coming to the Catholic Church. We talked for awhile and she introduced me to a few people. I also some others that I knew and chatted with them as well. It felt awesome to be surrounded by so many college Catholics who definitely cling tight to God and the faith. You would have to to venture out to Mass in this blizzard (you honestly have no idea how bad it is out there).

Coming back from Church I felt like a pioneer. Walking through a blizzard, freezing to the core, snow caked onto my clothes. That must have been what it was like for our forefathers as they trekked across this desolate prairie to give thanks to God. It is so bad out there that there is a high possibility of getting a second snow day tomorrow!!!

I am really glad I went to Church tonight.

First Meeting

 

I actually had to meet with the woman who does RCIA last night instead of tomorrow. I was pretty nervous the whole day and I’m not sure why. But it I enjoyed it. We talked about sacraments and what they are. The Catholic Church celebrates seven sacraments, which are Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Reconcilliation, Annointing, Matrimony and Holy Orders. We discussed what they are and what all of the symbols in them, especially baptism, mean. I will be going to to RCIA classes with Andy now up until Easter. It’s exciting, but I do have two problems, which are more schedule/transportation issues. You see, I’m on duty Easter weekend which is when I will be baptized/confirmed. That is my own fault though, because I switched duty weekends so that I would have an excuse not to go home for Easter weekend. I’m not really sure why I did that. But even if I did get that weekend off, I would not really have a way to get to the Church. I trust though that all of these things will be worked out.

Anyways, as a result of the meeting I missed The Office. When I got back to my room, one of my friends started talking to me on facebook, wondering what I thought of The Office and then wanted to know why I missed it. Then she wanted to know about why I came to choose Catholicism and so I got to have a good conversation with her about that. It was very encouraging and gives me a little more confidence to talk about it with other people, which is good, because now I really cannot hide this at all.

P.S. As I continue to explore the Catholic faith, I found this great testimony. You should read it.