IN SEASON AND OUT OF SEASON
The calendar indicates that we are now one month into spring but the weather we have experienced through the latter part of March and the first part of April made me think that it was still winter! I’m writing this a whole week and a half before you will read it so my hope is that by then it will have stopped snowing and the grass will have turned green. Be that as it may, the unseasonably cold weather hasn’t stopped time moving forward and we find ourselves at the beginning of the Fourth Week of Easter. This is customarily the time when we are preparing for the celebration of Confirmation for our young adults and First Holy Communion for our children. However, this year these milestones in their lives will occur a bit later, and I’d like to share with you why this is the case.
We’ve been accustomed to welcoming our children to receive Jesus in the Eucharist for the first time at the beginning of May. However, because the date of Easter occurred very early this year our faith formation coordinators realized that this presented us with a wonderful opportunity to have First Holy Communion on the weekend when the Church celebrated the Feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, which will be June 3rd. Commonly called by its Latin title “Corpus Christi” this is the day when we pay special honor to the Blessed Sacrament as the means whereby Jesus gifts us with his very life (“soul and divinity”) to nourish and strengthen the presence of the Holy Spirit within us. By welcoming our children to the Eucharistic Table on this day our families will have the opportunity to reflect on the meaning of the holy sacrament and the need to give due honor and reverence to our Lord in his unique presence.
The date for Confirmation varies from year to year depending on the Bishop’s schedule, and will be celebrated during the Seventh Week of Easter on Wednesday, May 16th. It is our custom to join with several other parishes in the area for this celebration, and for the last several years Holy Apostles has been the host. This year St. James will be the site of Confirmation for young adults from our two parishes as well as those from Christ our Hope Parish at St. Matthias Church in French Creek. Bishop Malone will once again preside in the sealing with the gift of the Holy Spirit that completes a person’s initiation into the Roman Catholic Church. As the liturgical calendar is organized, this celebration will occur after Ascension Day and just a few days before the observance of Pentecost when we commemorate the initial sending of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles to empower them to proclaim the Gospel.
Thus, even though it may seem that we are a bit out of season with these major milestones in the life of the Church we would do well to remember St. Paul’s counsel to be persistent in proclaiming the Word of Christ both in season and out of season (see 2 Timothy 4:1-3).
Be at peace,
Father Dennis Mende