Water and oil flow again: Celebrating the Sacraments

With our Parishes and Churches gradually opening, the focus for the month of November will be to complete the Sacraments of Initiation for school-aged children – First Eucharist, Confirmation – and many Baptisms and Weddings that have been waiting!  We are lucky that we have Archbishop Hart as part of our community and that he is happy to assist in confirming our children.  We will have Confirmation Ceremonies most Friday evenings and Sunday afternoons throughout November.

In order to ensure that the community can gather for Sunday Mass, we have moved our First Eucharist celebrations to Thursday evenings.  Thursday is reminiscent of Holy Thursday when Jesus himself gave us the Eucharist.  Hopefully, our children will make that link and remember that their First Eucharist is a link to the day when Jesus gave us the gift of his body and blood.

Like so much of parish life, our sacramental preparation has gone online.  Over the last three weeks, Nanette Giovannini has welcomed around 80 young people to Zoom preparation sessions.  In fact, the preparation for Confirmation has been a partnership between parents and catechists.  Each week a module of work has been emailed for children to complete with parents or carers at home.  Children have then joined a Zoom meeting to hear about the upcoming module and to have any of their questions answered.  They have all done a great job of completing the program and will be well and truly ready to celebrate the sacrament when the time comes.

We will have eight Confirmation Ceremonies and four First Eucharist Masses during November.

Similarly, there have been many families waiting to celebrate baptisms this year.  We are planning for outdoor and indoor ceremonies next weekend.  It is appropriate that the first sacraments we will celebrate for our reopening will be baptisms.  We can think of it as a kind of new birth or re-birth of the sacramental life of our parish.  We have over thirty families with young children who will be baptised over the coming weeks and months.  It will be lovely to see the waters of rebirth flowing across our parishes once more.

We also have a number of couples who have put off their important wedding day, often multiple times.  We can now plan, with some certainty, to celebrate the Sacrament of Marriage with them.  The first will take place next weekend at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church.

And so we will baptise, marry and confirm over the coming weeks and pray that the Holy Spirit visits the Church and brings renewed energy and vigour to form anew a people of faith, hope and love.

We then look forward to opening the doors of all our churches to all our parishioners on the weekend of 6/7 November to celebrate the Eucharist: the source and summit of the Christian life.

By Fr Brendan Reed

 

Sacramental Life Worship

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