It was a very eventful weekend last week as we completed the initiation of our high schoolers as they received the gift of the sacrament of Confirmation and the second graders advanced their initiation with the reception of Holy Communion. I am sure you have been told this several times; but it bears repeating, for most of us; we enter the Church in stages. Most begin their entry as infants with their parents and godparents presenting them to the Church. They make a profession of Faith in the name of the child and they promise to raise the child in the practice of the faith. From the very beginnings of the Christian Church this practice has been accepted as normal. The great goal of this type of initiation is that the individual has a sense of belonging both in their own family and in the greater Christian community. We expect them to grow up and to take their own place in the community, but at this point all the responsibility rests on the parents and godparents.
The time comes when they have developed enough of an intellectual capacity that they can understand that the bread and wine they see their parents receive during the gathering of the community is something more than just bread and wine. They certainly are not going to understand the term transubstantiation at that point (actually how many adults speak about this reality as we talk about the Eucharist), but they can know that Jesus is in the bread and wine their parents receive. As they begin to grasp this the community wants to share the great gift that Jesus gave us with them. This comprises the second step of being initiated into the community. Congratulations to our first communicants who joined us last Sunday!
A day comes when the individual can make a profession of faith on their own and from that point on take a personal responsibility in growing in the faith. Our Archdiocese deems this moment to happen somewhere between 10th and 12th grade. At Saint Joseph’s we embrace that reality at 10th grade. On Monday evening, at the Basilica of Mary, with bishop Williams presiding, our tenth graders made their profession of Faith and were confirmed. They are now fully initiated into the Catholic Community and can take their place with us on their own as active members of our faith community. Congratulations to our newly Confirmed! I look forward to seeing you take your place in our faith community!