From our Pastors
What might propel you to join the Catholic Church today?
If you have been at masses in person or virtually recently, you will have seen that we have a large number of people making their way into the faith. A faith many of us inherited at birth.
Why are they doing this? What is moving them to make this step as adults?
We wanted to introduce the fourteen people who have been meeting almost every week via zoom since September last year, so you might know who they are and, perhaps, find as we do, their stories inspiring and encouraging.
Most of the fourteen are in their 20’s and 30’s, some a little older. Three are college students intellectually attracted to the Catholic Church. Two are a mother and daughter. Five are preparing for marriage to a Catholic partner and want to have a united faith while raising a family. Other reasons are a desire to return to their family's original tradition, or a desire for spiritual growth and to connect to life's deeper meaning. A meaning they see that life as a Catholic can provide.
In order to become a full member of the Catholic Church as an adult, we provide a long and dedicated process worthy of the seriousness of the decision. Since the reforms of Vatican II in the 1960’s, the process the Church provides is called the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). The RCIA accompanies the participants with a graduated process that allows them to learn, through information and shared experience, what it means to be a Catholic. They are guided and supported by a team of fellow adult Catholics who help them discern if this is right for them.
We are incredibly blessed at the Oratory parishes to have a wonderful team of leaders: Rob and Nadine, both former Protestant clergy, went through RCIA themselves, Rob in 1999 and Nadine in 2017. Rob, an art historian, taught at several colleges/universities before retirement, lastly at Fordham. Nadine retired after four years as interim pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Brooklyn Heights, where they lived when they became regular parishioners at St. Boniface. The third member of our team is Patrick O'Reilly, a longtime member of St. Boniface, and a former Marist brother, is a retired high school teacher and principal.
At our shared Easter vigil on Saturday evening April 3rd, four of our RCIA candidates will be baptized, receive First Eucharist and be Confirmed, (Carla, Kourtney, Nick, Andrew). At that same vigil, three, because they are already baptized in another Christian tradition, will receive the sacrament of Confirmation (Adam, Jonathan, and Samantha). Additionally, we are arranging for Confirmation for one member who is now residing back in Texas and cannot be with us in person at Easter (Tanner). At the end of the Easter season, and appropriately on the Feast of at Pentecost, four are completing their
sacraments of initiation as Catholics by receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation (Luke, Ana, Carolina, Vincent).
We also have two people attending classes and anticipating sacraments at Easter 2022 (Stefen and Connor).
With our three wonderful leaders we have been having crowded Zoom meetings on Wednesdays from 7 to 8:30 pm, with 28 classes on the schedule from October through May. Plus, a mini-retreat on the Saturday before Palm Sunday. Zoom has been a challenge, as so much of our faith is about being a community of familiar faces. But Zoom enables people to take part easily, including Adam in Atlanta and Tanner in Texas.
The curriculum is loosely based on ten chapters in The Mystery of Faith: An Introduction to Catholicism, by Brooklyn priest Fr. Michael Himes, covering basic tenets of Catholic faith and practice. The sessions are grounded in Scripture study, the Catholic Catechism, and Church history... illustrated with Catholic art and architecture over many centuries.
The Oratorians have assisted: Frs. Anthony, Dennis, Mark Paul, and Brother Jim, have or are offering input and support at least once during the nine month process. Frs. Michael and Mark pitch in as needed as well as administering sacraments and the other rites associated with the journey.
Please keep our RCIA candidates in prayer. May their journey renew our sense of gratitude and dedication as we make our way with Jesus through this Holy Week to a renewed joy at aster.
Fr. Mark Lane, c.o. and Fr. Michael Callaghan, c.o.