They rose as their names were called. The catechumens preparing to be baptized at Easter met together on Sunday, March 6, at Mary Queen of the World Cathedral to mark their outset on the journey to Baptism.
As the entire Christian community traverses the season of Lent on their approach to Easter, those about to receive the sacraments of Christian initiation, consisting of Baptism, Confirmation and First Communion, gathered together to celebrate the Decisive Call. Each arrived with his or her particular story but, as catechumens, all shared one desire: to enter into the great family of the Church and be immersed in Baptism as children of God.
At the beginning of his homily, Archbishop Christian Lépine spoke of the "first encounter" with Jesus Christ that led each of the catechumens to this celebration.
"What does it mean to believe in Jesus Christ?" he asked. "That question can never be fully answered." Of course, it can mean, "I believe God exists, although I live as if he doesn't." But the meaning of "believing" can be developed further: "One of the meanings of faith, of believing in God, in Jesus Christ, is: ‘I trust you, I trust your word,’ just as we would say to a good friend, ‘I believe you’."
Entrusting one’s whole life to Jesus Christ
“Entrusting their whole existence to God: this is what the catechumens will be signifying by their Baptism," said Archbishop Lépine.
"During the temptations of Christ in the desert, it is his faith which is being tempted, his connection with God. It is not about changing stones into bread, or whether He will leap off the temple. It is about his connection with his Father. Satan's desire is for Jesus to lose his trust in his Father. He does not say, “Your Father does not exist.” He says, “You are hungry and yet He does not feed you.” Archbishop Lépine here makes the link with the deep faith that must underlie our declaration: "I believe."
In the course of the celebration, each catechumen was called on by name, and they rose one at a time to declare their desire to carry on in the journey towards Baptism. Godparents were likewise asked to stand beside their godchildren and vouch for their "preparedness" for this journey, attesting to their faithfulness to the Word of God, their participation in fraternal life and prayer. The names of the catechumens were written in the "Book of the Elect," which was then signed by Archbishop Lépine and entrusted to Sister Bénédicte of the Fraternités Monastiques de Jérusalem to return to her community. During the Season of Lent, this community will be offering prayers especially for each of the catechumens.
The Archbishop placed a violet sash, the colour signifying conversion within the Church, over the shoulders of each of the catechumens, asking that they wear this throughout the Lenten season.
For Kevin, it came one night as he was returning to his home, for Aimé it came through the Church welcoming him upon his arrival in Canada. For each individual, the call has its own unique story, and all lead to one and the same deep communion in Christ.