Joyful hearts

Yesterday at the Cathedral nearly 300 people gathered with Bishop Zubik for the Rite of Election. They came with their parents, spouses, children, friends, families, pastors, RCIA team members and their sponsors. These 300 people – some unbaptized and others baptized Christians – were at the Cathedral to confirm their desire to join the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil. And next Sunday, there will be another 300 people doing it all over again! Each of them has responded to a call from God. They have faithfully walked a journey of formation, prayer and discernment since this past August – gathering every week for class and attending Sunday Mass regularly to grow familiar with all that happens in the Church. What was so overwhelmingly evident yesterday was the tremendous joy radiating from their hearts and visible on their faces – one after another of them as they came forward to sign the Book of the Elect and to meet the bishop and to be accepted by the Church as an elect or candidate. They were beaming, filled with enthusiasm, for the faith they have been longing for, many for a long time. That kind of joy and enthusiasm touched the hearts of all who were present and made each of us reflect on the joy of the Gospel and the gift of our own Catholic faith that we all too easily take for granted. As pastor and rector of the Cathedral, I am so proud of the very large group who are part of our RCIA formation process this year – nearly 25 people. They inspire me and remind me of what a gift our faith truly is – life in Jesus Christ and his holy and living body, the Church. Let us continue to pray for all who will be baptized and received into full communion in countless parishes throughout our diocese this Easter. What a blessing they are to us and to the Church! Perhaps we can catch some of their joyful spirit in these weeks of Lent as we seek through our own Lenten disciplines and formation to grow more deeply in love with Jesus himself and to grow more deeply in love with the Church – the sacrament of our salvation.