What are the meanings and effects of the sacrament of initiation? We welcomed four neophytes into the Living Faith in the Risen Christ at Easter Vigil. Terry (Molla), Samantha (Gertrude), Justin (Joseph ) and Drake (Michael) received the grace of the Sacraments of baptism, confirmation and eucharist for the first time. This moment and these new Christians need some recognition. What is the meaning of what happened last week? In the opening prayer of this Sunday of Divine Mercy, we direct our prayers to God of everlasting mercy that we may "grasp and rightly understand, in what font (we) have been washed, by whose Spirit (we) have been reborn, by whose Blood (we) have been redeemed." We need to constantly seek to grasp and rightly understand this mystery of faith and its impact.
In the old liturgical practice, this day was called "Dominica in albis"- the last day neophytes wore their white baptismal garment. It implies that they have been wearing it all week to remind them of their new identity, which offers them recognition in the assembly. What does our baptism mean? We also celebrate the sprinkling rite replacing the penitential rite; what does this do regarding our baptism? We seek to grasp and rightly understand today, in the days ahead, the impact and reality of our baptism, confirmation, and the holy communion we partake in. Thomas doubted the truth about the risen Christ. He wanted to see to believe. The world would like to see the fruits or the sacraments in us. We must seek to understand these sacraments and how they transform our lives. They are living evidence of God's unending mercy. The sacraments of initiation must turn our minds to God's mercy. It was his unfathomable Divine Mercy that obtained for us the grace of these sacraments. We must recognize this interiorly and intentionally dispose of ourselves to experience the graces they impart on us.
Taking the idea of recognition further, I want to throw light on those who made our Sacred Triduum liturgy the beauty it turned out to be. First, I want to offer praises and thanks to everyone who participated: the lectors, cantors, choir (adult and youth), ushers, the youth group who led one of the best living Stations of the Cross we have had in the parish, Vicky Kern and her OCIA crew, Religious Education catechists, St. Michael's Guard, and the master of ceremony, Joseph Barone. I also want to recognize my parish office support: Stephen Desjardins, Eileen Rider, Georgann Azallina, John Belicic, and Sandy Koser. All of you and many others are a blessing to our parish. Let's continue to grasp and understand the meaning of our baptism, especially during the Easter season.
See you all at the Divine Mercy service this afternoon at 2:30.
Fr. Bernard, OP