Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Blessings Continue to Pour!

By Father Benjamin Alforque, MSC, VF
Parochial Vicar, St. Catherine of Alexandria, Riverside
The months of spring continue to witness the blessings poured down for us from heaven: 3 new priests, a deacon and thousands of our people, most of them young, receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit at Confirmation, prepared well by the Sacrament of Reconciliation. 
I asked them if they looked forward to this event.  They just glowed with a huge smile, and many with tears of joy.  Slowly in this journey, they discovered themselves more deeply, and knew God in their lives more profoundly.  They can relate to Christ now more personally. And by the gift of the Holy Spirit, they are now openly proud and happy to be confirmed fully Catholic and fully Christian!    
The Sacrament of Confirmation in the Catholic Church is really one of the Sacraments of Christian Initiation. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (1212) says: “The sacraments of Christian initiation - Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist - lay the foundations of every Christian life… "The faithful are born anew by Baptism, strengthened by the sacrament of Confirmation, and receive in the Eucharist the food of eternal life.” (1285) “Confirmation is necessary for the completion of baptismal grace. By the sacrament of Confirmation, [the baptized] are more perfectly bound to the Church and are enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit. Hence they are, as true witnesses of Christ, more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith by word and deed."
The multiplication of God’s blessings continues.  How many parents, families, relatives and friends have returned to the Church and to the sacramental life because of the confirmation of their beloved child!  For indeed, we all are blessings to one another, and instruments of the multiplication of God’s blessings for all! 
There is the blessing of our new graduates too!  Men and women equipped with secular and scientific skills, they are tasked to impact society and the world with the holiness of God. They are invited by God to use their knowledge and skills to discover more deeply the love of God in the world, and to fill the world with God’s love.
Sr. Joan Holland, OSF, 50 years a teacher and educator in parish schools and spiritual guide to our students of St. Catherine of Alexandria School, has been such a blessing to the Church, to our community, to our school and to our children and their families.  This woman who is a guiding light says of her mission:   “God seems to be calling me to places I wouldn't have thought of to heal the wounds of broken relationships among students, faculty, staff and their families. Seeing people making and maintaining productive relationships and solving problems drives my commitment to my ministry: my mission” (OSF Website).  Sr. Joan has retired from our school, but her being a blessing continues. Thank you, Sr. Joan, for blessing us with your blessings!

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