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God's gifts for us: an invitation

Opinion

As the school year gets under way, parishes quickly get into a process of inviting parents of children aged seven or older to become part of the program of completing the initiation sacraments for these children. Fr Anthony Kain poses the question of how a parent might respond to this invitation – would the letter be inviting or intimidating?

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Dear Parents,

This is an invitation that promises a wonderful life for you and your children.

There are rituals that initiate people into the Catholic Community: baptism, confirmation and communion. Reconciliation is also celebrated at this time to remind us that we are baptised and called to live as Christ shows us. Families, schools and parish communities collaborate in preparing for and celebrating these rituals.

These rituals are gifts, building blocks of entering into the life of our Trinity God, in time. They ultimately tell us that we live forever. Our lives have an eternal quality.

These gifts come from God. God invites us to share in God’s divine life. We are able to receive these gifts though the gift of faith. Faith draws us to accepting these divine gifts; we reach our goal. And yet, participating in these sacraments for the first time is not where we stop.

The process about entering into the life of God is a lifelong process of entering more fully into Christ and the life of the Spirit. Sunday Mass is the heart of our faith practice in the Catholic Church to help us on our quest for meaning.

So the way we initiate our young (and ourselves) now is

FIRSTLY, by coming together as community, people of God, especially on the Sabbath for prayer and reflection.

SECONDLY, we listen to God’s Word starting with the first reading from the Old Testament, the Acts of the Apostles or the Book of Revelation
We respond by praying a prayer (psalm) from the Jewish Scriptures;
We listen to early Christian writers, witnesses (for example St. Paul, St Peter, St James) who wrote community letters.
We welcome the Gospel with a word from Jesus’ own Aramaic language ‘Alleluia’ which means “Praise God”.
We listen to a passage from one of the Gospels – we hear them all over three years – written by early witnesses, the four evangelists – Mark, Matthew, Luke and John.

Over weeks and years Christ enters our minds and hearts as we listen.

THIRDLY, We bring gifts to the altar (with our lives), bread and wine and we shape our ceremony on the Jewish Passover Meal which celebrates the journey to freedom that Moses and the people made from the slavery of Egypt to the promised land as we eat bread and wine, blessed and broken to be Christ coming to nourish our baptismal life of living as him in the world today. We are the Body of Christ.

FINALLY, we are sent forth with a purpose: to bring his life, his words, teaching and actions, to our week as we interpret our lives in the light of his life as interpreted by early witnesses with the Spirit directing us to be part of God’s ongoing creative plan, God’s design for our humanity.

These initiation gifts are celebrated each Sunday throughout our lives and it is to that weekly celebration to which we are invited by God. It is there that we:

gather to REMEMBER that we are baptised, the beloved of God;

seek forgiveness for choices in our lives that don’t live up to God’s love;

listen to what Jesus reveals about our lives living by his words and actions;

call down the Holy Spirit on bread and wine to change it into Christ’s body and blood;

eat and drink; nourished so as to become what we eat and drink, the Body of Christ in the world of today;

are sent forth to be people of God’s good news in our world …

Our sacramental preparation process begins with enrolment. If you wish to enrol your child in the process, please complete the enrolment/information and return it to the parish or school office as soon as possible.

How do we invite our parishioners to be participants in such a process? Let us pray for the wisdom to communicate this invitation lovingly. Let us pray for the children and their families who are on this journey.

 

 

 

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