- Have you been confirmed?
- Made your first Holy Communion?
- Do you or someone you know need to be baptized?
A pastor at a nearby Catholic parish once asked his people these questions. He was asking more to double-check that everyone in his parish had received all three of the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Eucharist). He didn’t expect many of his parishioners who have been filling the pews of his parish for decades to let him know that they still needed to be confirmed. Some even needed to be baptized! He was surprised – pleasantly, I guess – that twenty or thirty people came to the classes at the parish in order to be confirmed, etc. He seemed quite happy to be able to have the conversation with these courageous folks not just about the sacraments, but about faith and life in general. He was a proud spiritual papa!
So, of course, I will ask you all the same questions. If you need to be confirmed or baptized or make your first Holy Communion, then please attend our RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) classes starting this Wednesday, January 16, 6:30 pm in the rectory. The “classes” are more like discussions that I will lead every Wednesday night until Easter. We’ll use a book that will be a very good resource for you and will help facilitate our discussions on Catholic teachings and practices. As you might have noticed, I don’t like to waste anyone’s time, so our talks will be informative and substantial, but not boring. There won’t be any tests; we just need your commitment to attend the meetings. Even if you don’t need to receive any of these sacraments, it would be good to attend the discussions and learn more about your Catholic faith. RCIA is usually for adults who are preparing to become Catholic. But even these non-Catholics have said that every Catholic should attend RCIA classes!
Here are some of the notes from the discussion on Baptism which line up with what comes from the readings for today’s Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (Isaiah 40:1-15, 9-11, Titus 2:11-14, 3:4-7, and Luke 3:15-16, 21-22):
What do we receive at Baptism?
● Life in Christ
“the bath of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit whom he richly poured out on us
through Jesus Christ our savior” (Titus 3)
● Indwelling of the Holy Trinity
“I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit” (Mt 28)
“The grace of God has appeared…so that we might be justified by his grace and become
heirs in hope of eternal life” (Titus 2-3)
“For all of you are children of God, through faith, in Christ Jesus, since
every one of you that has been baptized has been clothed in Christ” (Galatians 3)
● Forgiveness of sins
“her service is at an end, her guilt is expiated; indeed she has received from the hand of
the Lord double for all her sins” (Isaiah 40)
● Gifts of the Holy Spirit
“He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit” (Luke 3)
● Incorporation into the Church, the Body of Christ
“For by one Spirit, we were all baptized into one body” – 1 Cor 12:13
● An indelible spiritual mark
“Baptism seals the Christian with the indelible spiritual mark (character) of his belonging
to Christ. Given once for all, Baptism cannot be repeated.” (Catechism, # 1272)
Christ is born!
Fr Greg our last men’s group,