21 February 2010
44 people take part in ceremony to join the Catholic Church in Dublin
Forty four people took part in a special ceremony in St Mary’s Pro Cathedral in Dublin this afternoon (Sunday 21st) seeking to join the Catholic Church.
Forty one people (called ‘catechumens’) presented to Archbishop Diarmuid Martin seeking recognition to be initiated into the Catholic Church by receiving Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist in their parishes at the Easter Vigil. Three others (called ‘candidates’) who previously belonged to other Christian denominations were presented seeking reception into the full communion of the Catholic Church.
This particular ceremony, called the Rite of Election takes place every year on the first Sunday of Lent. (Archbishop Martin’s Homily from the ceremony is below)
The group, of various ages and from many different backgrounds, has already been on a path of formation, an ‘apprenticeship’ in Christian living, for a considerable period of time with their local Dublin parishes.
”The welcoming of people into the Catholic Church through what’s known as the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is a growing process in our diocese,” said Fr Damian Mc Neice, RCIA contact person for the Archdiocese. “The parishes involved over the past number of years have found themselves greatly enriched by welcoming and accompanying people as they grow on their faith journey. Their wanting to become one of us challenges us to live our faith in a more authentic way. It challenges us too not to take what we have received for granted, and to always be parishes that welcome and form people in prayer, the Scriptures, ongoing faith formation and social caring.
Catechumens are those who have begun a process of formation in Christian faith, particularly rooted in the Word of God, and nurtured and supported by the faith, witness and companionship of the Christian community. After today’s celebration they will be called the elect and will begin their final period of preparation, which corresponds with Lent, for the Christian Initiation at the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday night.
Candidates are those who are already baptised into another Christian communion, who wish to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church in their parishes through the reception of Confirmation and Eucharist, also at the Easter Vigil.
Notes to editors:
- Photos of the ceremony will be circulated to photo desksfrom John Mc Elroy photos
- Homily notes of Archbishop Diarmuid Martin below
Rite of Election 2010
This afternoon the Church in the Archdiocese of Dublin rejoices as it embraces this group of 41 men and women who have turned for Baptism and 3 who have asked to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church.
You come requesting to be welcomed into the family of Jesus which is the Church. Jesus himself told us that his family is made up of those who hear the word of God and put it into practice.
For some time now you have been following a process of catechumenate, listening to and deepening the word of God in your heart. I greet each of you individually; I greet those who have prepared you for this journey, especially the representatives of the parish communities where you belong. Your presence and activity are signs of the renewed sense of Christian vocation and call to holiness of all Christian faithful. I thank you for that witness. I pray that our renewal in the Lord can develop and deepen.
We have listened to the Gospel of the temptations of Jesus, the traditional Gospel of the first Sunday of Lent.
The season of Lent is a moment of grace offered to the entire Christian community to convert, to return to God. Lent is just not about individual acts of penance; it is not a Christian version of a New Year’s resolution. It is a moment of spiritual battle waged by the whole Church, in order to identify and to turn away from idols of the day, which year by year and generation after generation, seduce us and alienate us from the message of the Gospel.
Jesus is tempted at the moment in which he embarks on the mission he has received from his Father. The forces of evil challenge him at that precise moment. He is placed before the temptation of Satan. The individual temptations are about turning stones into bread, about possessing all the kingdoms of the earth, about throwing himself down in order to be dramatically saved by angels. Each of these temptations, however, is fundamentally about the same thing: Jesus is tempted to turn away from obedience to his Father and to live and work for himself, leaving aside communion with God and with his brothers and sisters.
Jesus is tempted and he responds to these temptations through an attitude of radical obedience to God and to his own calling. The weapon which Jesus proclaims for this battle with evil is the Word of God. In responding to Satan Jesus does not enter into a debate about detail or particulars in responding to Satan. Jesus’ aim is not winning points in a debate. His answers are all taken from the word of God interpreted in its deepest sense.
The battle between good and evil continues in the hearts of each one of us still today. The fundamental temptation to act just on our own without God can never be overcome just on our own. The message of Jesus is not a programme of response to the details of the battle between good and evil. It is about opening our hearts to something new and different: allowing Jesus to be the true protagonist of our lives. This does not mean abandoning ourselves, but being authentic in ourselves, through a life of greater simplicity, detached from what is not essential and not true or good in our lives.
At this ceremony I am delighted to welcome those of you who today take a further step in your integration of this community of faith and worship which is the Catholic Church diocese of Dublin. That journey will reach its climax in the Easter Vigil. I welcome the elect who seek baptism; I welcome the Candidates who wish to be admitted to the full communion of the Catholic Church. I welcome your sponsors and the representatives of the parish communities who have helped form you in the faith of the Church.
This will be for each of you a very particular Lenten journey. You are called to know Jesus in a deeper manner. You are called to journey on a path of penance so that you can purify your hearts and minds and thus come to rise with him through the waters of baptism.
You come here this afternoon to the Mother Church of the Archdiocese because the entire Church in Dublin makes this journey of renewal with you. We are all called to heal what is weak and sinful and defective in our hearts so that we can strengthen all that is upright and strong and good.
Lent is a celebration of the whole Church. We reflect on the mystery of God’s action with his people. We heard in the first reading how the Lord heard the voice of his people in its misery and how it was he who brought his people out of their misery and oppression.
The entire Church in Dublin is called again this Lent to renew itself through an examination of our lives and our experience. We are all called to turn to the Lord who alone can bring healing and offer us, to paraphrase the words of the first reading, a new and different and fruitful land and home.
Lent this year is a moment in which the whole Church in Dublin is called to do penance and seek reconciliation concerning how terrible facts of abuse of children were responded to. We have to reject any temptation of thinking that renewal of the Church can be achieved without recognising the hurt and damage that was done to innocent children and how that hurt was ignored. Lent is a time when we must all look at our responsibilities for the society and for the Church which allowed such a situation to take shape.
The answer proposed by Jesus to each of the temptations is to come closer to the Word of God revealed in the scriptures. That is why we have begun in the Archdiocese to distribute copies of the Gospel of Saint Luke – over two hundred thousand of them so far – to families and Church groups.
The message of Saint Luke goes out to all. Many say that they are disillusioned with the Church but still wish to follow the path of Jesus. But where do you find the key to that path? We cannot create it on our own; otherwise we run the risk of creating a God of our own. I appeal to all those, who feel disillusioned with the Church but still feel attracted by the message of Jesus, to turn to the authentic source of that message, which is the Word of God and especially the Gospels. Let all of us read the Gospel, rather than surmise that we know it and understand it. Read the logic of the Gospel, which is a message that is relevant to today’s society with its many false idols. Learn how Jesus taught and lived. Let his message of God’s love heal and renew all of us.
Those of you who present yourselves today as elect and as candidates have gone through a passage of conversion through knowledge of the scriptures and the teaching of the Church. This process has taken you one step further on your path. Your recognition of Jesus has led you to wish to join the community of the disciples of Jesus, which has been present generation after generation since that first community formed by Mary and the disciples of Jesus, gathered around the Lord and strengthened by the Spirit.
Jesus has touched your hearts and has sown within them a hunger and longing for participation in his special presence within his Church in the sacraments Christian initiation and in the Eucharist.
This is a personal path but it is also a witness to what the Christian life is about. Faith in Jesus is not simply a book of rules. It is a path of life which is shared with those who profess the same faith, share the same spiritual nourishment in word and sacrament and live the same life of Christian love.