Each year in September we begin at St. Francis (as well as in most other parishes in the Archdiocese) the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, RCIA. This is the process that we have for adults, those that have reached the age of reason, to begin exploring the possibility of entering the Catholic Church. There are two paths: one for those desiring to be baptized into the Catholic faith and one for those that have already been baptized in a different faith tradition to come into full communion with the Catholic Church.
There are four phases of this process. There is a period of inquiry, a time of enlightenment, a time of purification and finally a time of mystagogy. On the first Sunday of Lent, those that have been journeying to the Easter Sacraments since September where called by the Archbishop, in this case by our retired Archbishop John Vlazny, to become the elect. This ushered in the third phase which is the time of purification.
Not only is Lent a time of purification for the Elect, but it is also a time of purification for each one of us. We take time each year as we approach Easter to purify our minds and hearts from our sinful ways. This allows us to be more properly disposed to renew our baptismal promises that we make on Easter Sunday, to reject satan and all of his evil works.
During the 3 rd, 4 th, and 5 th Sunday’s of Lent, our Elect go through what are called the Scrutinies. These ancient rituals are ones that help the Elect to further reflect and prepare for Easter. These rites are meant to uncover within the elect what needs to be healed, and bring about and reveal what is already good.
While these rites will take place at the 10:30 am Mass on Sundays, I would ask that each of us at all the Masses over the next three weekends take a moment to say a prayer for these that are going to be joining us around the Eucharistic table here at St. Francis at Easter. We should also pray for those joining the Church throughout the world. Our prayer should be for God’s grace to be poured out upon them and that they continue to long for the new life that they will receive at Easter.
Additionally, I would also ask that you remember those that will be receiving their 1 st Communion during the Easter Season and those that will receive the sacrament of Confirmation.
This time of Lent is a time for us all to look deeply into our lives so that we can purify ourselves of our sinful ways and draw nearer to our God who faithfully pours out His life and His love upon each and every one of us leading us back to our Father in heaven.