12 January 2007

God's growing family

Today I had the privilege of receiving a young husband and wife into the Church. They have children in the school, and God moved in their lives, partly through that fact -- one more example of how God works through Catholic schools. They might well have gone through their lives with a spiritual hunger unfilled if they hadn't been brought face to face with the Catholic faith through their children.

It was a happy and quiet occasion. Their children were there, of course. And some friends who had encouraged them to make this step forward. They had been well prepared through our Inquirers' Classes, led by a very able catechist in the parish. We gathered near the St. Joseph Shrine. It seemed appropriate to do such a thing under the gaze of the Patron of the Universal Church. I held the Bible, their hands touching the holy book as they read out their profession together. What a beautiful sound, those voices together stating firmly but somewhat nervously their belief. Belief in God, belief in what He has done, belief in the Church which He founded. Rejecting every error and schism condemned by Holy Mother Church, "so help me God and these Gospels which I touch with my hand." Yes, it was beautiful.

And then I asked them, "Are you ready to make your confessions?" Without a second's hesitation, "Yes, yes please!" And so they did. Their first experience after entering into the full communion of the Church was to receive absolution. That, too, was very beautiful.

After they finished I reminded them that there was even more to come, that the next Mass they attended they could receive Holy Communion. "Thank you, Father," was what they said. Actually I should have thanked them for giving me the privilege of assisting them in the fulfillment of their desire to be godly parents, for the privilege of helping them to follow the invitation of Christ and to use His grace.

As I headed towards the sacristy I looked back. They were still at St. Joseph's Shrine, embracing one another and their children. God's little Church they were, that family. To have taken part in it made my day especially joyful.