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APRIL 4, 2020


Christians & Coronavirus:

Staying Connected in Christ


I don’t remember much about my baptism. I couldn’t even tell you when it occurred. I do know it was not long after my birth. I was baptized at St. Peter Church in Akron, Ohio. I also made my First Communion at this same church. I just found out last year that this church has been torn down and not rebuilt. I was confirmed at St. Sebastian Church in Akron when I was in the eighth grade. Confirmation is a sign that you are entering the adulthood of your faith but there was still so much more to learn.

Do you remember where and when you received these sacraments?

I am a member of the RCIA Team and this year I was particularly excited about the Easter Vigil because I was going to be the godmother for one of our catechumens. A "catechumen" is an unbaptized person and a "candidate" is a person baptized as a Christian but has not received the Sacraments of Eucharist and/or Confirmation.


I would walk with a woman who was being received into the church. She would be baptized, receive Holy Communion and be confirmed during the Easter Vigil. I was so excited and I can only imagine how thrilling it was going to be for her since not only would she be receiving these sacraments of initiation, but so would her two teenage sons.

They have been studying every Sunday for a year. Each Sunday, they attend the first part of 9:30am Mass and are then dismissed following the homily to go to study the scripture readings for that Mass. Following the "Breaking Open of the Word," as the scripture study is called, the candidates and catechumens spend the next 45 minutes to an hour learning about the Catholic Church; including, the Sacraments, Prayer, the Eucharist, Scripture and the Mass, etc. This period of preparation can extend for a year. Clearly these are people who are very serious
about their choice to become Catholics, and for a variety of reasons are committed to this decision and are willing to work hard toward it. Their disappointment is almost palpable.

Many of us never made our own individual decision to be Catholic, this decision was made for us. But our catechumens and candidates have made their own choice after thoughtful consideration and are committed to and more than willing to put in the time required to prepare.

With all the things going on today with the coronavirus, suddenly all of this activity has stopped. We need to bear in mind that their desire is stronger than ever before. I have been in touch with my friend and she is still looking forward to being received into the church. Unfortunately, some things are out of our control. But if you have faith, you understand that all things have a reason before God. We may not understand this now or even in our lifetime but that doesn’t really matter. We are always on God’s clock, not our own.

While you have the time, please pray for all those who are preparing to come into our church that they keep their faith in this time of silence and inactivity. Pray for God to lift them up, strengthen their resolve and reassure them that they are indeed welcome, just as many of Christ’s followers were welcomed in his time on earth.

When this service is able to be rescheduled, please come and join all parishioners in welcoming these new Catholics into our community. They have worked so hard and prayed with such fervor to strengthen their faith so they can be received into our church.

Cathy O'Toole

St. Andrew Parishioner

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