At the 9:30 Mass this Sunday we celebrate the"Rite of Sending" with our catechumens and candidates for Full Communion with the Catholic Church. Those with whom we will be celebrating the Easter Sacraments of Baptism Confirmation, and First Eucharist at the Easter Vigil. What we "send" them to is the celebration of the "Rite of Election" at the Blessed Sacrament Cathedral next Saturday where they will be joining several hundred other catechumens and candidates from throughout the archdiocese. At this rite, presided over by the bishop, they will become official candidates for the sacraments. When we celebrated the "Rite of Welcoming" with them in November, they expressed their desire to be fully initiated members of the Catholic Church. Our faith community pledged to assist them in their journey. Since then, they have been joining us regularly at 9:30 Mass, where the catechumens have been dismissed at the end of the Liturgy of the Word. Together, they have come to study our faith and learn our Christian way of life. Under the guidance of our RCIA team, we have come to discern their readiness to join our community. In this rite, the Church informs them that we have found them ready and elect them as worthy candidates. It is a beautiful celebration.
Our catechumens now enter into the Period of Enlightenment, the time of proximate preparation for the Easter Sacraments. It is a special time of prayer and fasting.
Lent actually began in the Church as the time for potential new members to prepare to join the Church. The entire community would pray and fast and give alms for them. Over time Lent developed as a time for the entire community to pray and fast for themselves as well. Our main focus as a community during Lent is on those preparing for the Easter Sacraments, and for us as a community to be purified in order to receive new members. It is for this reason that this time is also known as the “Period of Purification.” Again, our focus as a community is on our Catechumens and elect, with whom we will be celebrating special rites nearly every Sunday during Lent.
As a reminder that we are seeking purification as a community to welcome new members this Lent, we will be asking the assembly to kneel during the Penitential Rite at weekend liturgies. We will be praying the Confiteor, asking each other to pray together for forgiveness.
At Masses this weekend we introduced our Lenten Video Project. This is an opportunity for us to reach out to others through social media in a creative and innovative way during this season. I know of no other parish that has done this. I am grateful for our parish staff which has spent countless hours over the past few months preparing for this initiative. Please join us. There is more information in this bulletin
Please join us for Mardi Gras this Tuesday as we prepare to enter Lent as a community.