Over a hundred future Confirmands and Full Communion candidates gathered to meet with the Archbishop last Tuesday, April 2. From both the anglophone and francophone communities, participants came together to pray, reflect and meet with the Archbishop, who welcomed their questions and eagerness to connect.
In the Archdiocese of Montreal, more than a thousand adults and adolescents, aged 14 and above, celebrate each year their confirmation. “This is a great meeting, because it is impossible for the Archbishop to attend all confirmation ceremonies, as he must be represented. He wishes, however, to meet with them every year,” explains Lamphone Phonevilay, responsible for the Catechumenate in Montreal.
Among the confirmands, about 10 were on a particular path. They were baptized in another Church and are currently seeking admission to full communion in the Roman Catholic Church.
A spirit of joy and complicity was fully present while the confirmands spent the evening with the Archbishop. They came to greet him and to introduce themselves in an informal way, and afterwards sang and prayed for about 15 minutes. Évelyne Candia and Maria Martinez, who sang and played the guitar, introduced to the future confirmands numerous meditative songs so they could live beautiful inner moments.
What enables us to see, we do not see
Archbishop Lépine joked as he offered teachings on the Holy Spirit: “If I say things that contradict what your guides told you, listen to them, not me!”
“The works of the Holy Spirit, among other things, is to help us see and feel Jesus Christ. We are all children through Jesus Christ and we meet his Son through the Holy Spirit.” Archbishop Lépine then pointed out that the Holy Spirit is the only person of the Holy Trinity that has no name (the Father and the Son are holy spirits bearing names that are related). He added that the Holy Spirit’s role was to unite the Father and the Son, us and the Son, and each of us together.”
“Sometimes we pray as if it were a dance, sometimes as if it were a battle”
(Saint Nicolas de Flue)
Archbishop Lépine then spoke about the importance of praying in our lives: “It’s through prayers that the Holy Spirit does its work,” he said, inviting the future confirmands to open their hearts to praying.
“Praying, it’s letting the soul breath when things go right or wrong. Praying is sometimes difficult, but one must persevere, because God always hears our prayers, even though things may turn out not exactly as we would imagine!”
Archbishop Lépine concluded by saying that “seeking and finding the will of God come through praying. That is the price to pay and a profitable investment!”
The Holy Spirit’s Role
The confirmands were asked a huge question: “What has the Holy Spirit done in your life?”
Joséphine, from the parish of Saint-Jean-Baptiste, did not hesitate to share her experience with her small group. She knew she was seeking something, but did not know what: “The Holy Spirit guided my footsteps towards a little church in Chile where I discovered Taizé songs, which transport me so much. They lead me to places or through their lyrics.”
As for Catherine, she recalls the feeling of peace and serenity she felt when her grandfather died. For Mathieu, it is “a force that guides him every day in my relationships with people”.
Hélène, acting as a guide and leader for Fraternité de la Bande FM, recalls that all these “prayers of intercession which spring out of me so easily, are the Holy Spirit praying in me and with me”.
The evening concluded with Archbishop Lépine answering the confirmands’ questions. Some were at times very personal, and he answered them with sincerity, sharing with simplicity many aspects of his own personal life. The confirmands returned home with a beautiful cross and a gift from the Holy Spirit taken out of a basket!
“I felt really close to my bishop”, said afterwards a future confirmand.