On Sunday, October 2, 2022, we gathered at Mary Queen of the World Cathedral, accompanied by Archbishop Lépine, to celebrate the Eucharist and to revive a tradition dating back to the early ages of the Church: welcoming neophytes (seedlings), or newly baptized adults. We were very happy to welcome to the Eucharist 22 neophytes, who laid down the white garments they had received at their Baptism and will now be considered full members of the Community.
Joining them were four adults celebrating the first anniversary of their Baptism, as well as godparents and members from their respective communities.
Upon entering into the catechumenate, the neophytes embarked on a process that is truly a journey of initiation. The whole catechumenal itinerary is a way of gradually entering into the Paschal Mystery and understanding it in order to live it.
Christian initiation cannot be conceived of as separate from participation in the liturgy and the sacraments; and so catechists, in their care for evangelization, are particularly attentive to ensure that their catechesis is interwoven with all liturgical and sacramental actions.
The early Church Fathers sought to find the meaning of the Initiation rites, and it is they who discovered the key to each of the rites performed, which we can follow in their Mystagogical Catecheses: "a renewed appreciation of the liturgical signs of Christian initiation” (Evangilii Gaudium, no. 166).
This encounter with the Bishop (RCIA 243) replaces the one that was scheduled for May 2022. The later scheduling made it possible in the interval for the neophytes (and their Christian communities) to come to a fuller and more fruitful understanding of the mysteries, thanks above all to experiencing the sacraments received and the accompanying catechesis... (RCIA 237)
In his homily, Archbishop Lepine reminded the Neophytes that it was the Lord who had knocked on their door and that they had then opened the door of their heart. He wished that the Lord, the ¨Source of Life ¨ might quench their thirst and always remain in them.
Before the profession of faith, the neophytes, in laying down their white robes, each made a personal commitment to preserve inwardly the radiance of this garment and always to integrate their faith into their lives. The Archbishop then gave to each neophyte a Rosary in memory of Mary’s Fiat: "let it be with me according to your word." The adults celebrating the first anniversary of their Baptism received a cross as a memento of the central significance of the Paschal Mystery in the Christian experience.
The Gospel for the day spoke of the notion of service. "(…) faith attains to its perfection by successive increases and that the smallest degree of faith can work great things.”(St. Chrysostom)
We are baptized and confirmed for the Eucharist. It is the ultimate form of prayer; it is the loving encounter with God, through his Word and the Body and Blood of the Lord.
“Fruitful participation in the liturgy requires that one be personally conformed to the mystery being celebrated, offering one's life to God in unity with the sacrifice of Christ for the salvation of the whole world.” (Sacramentum Caritatis no. 64)
The importance of this celebration was marked by the Communion’s being distributed under both species. Although the majority of those in attendance at this Eucharist came in procession to receive communion, it was in fact Christ who came to meet us in order to make us like Him. To be nourished in the Eucharist means to allow ourselves to be transformed.
In spite of the great changes that mark our complex times, (cf. DpC 38), the risen Lord continues to make all things new (Rev 21:5).
DpC 39 The Holy Spirit is the soul of the evangelizing Church. For this reason, the call to a new evangelization coincides rather... with making all the moments of the evangelization process ever more open to the renovating action of the Spirit of the Risen One.
Angèle C. Assalian, Member
Diocesan Catechumenate Team of Montreal