April 19, 2015
Dear Fellow Parishioners,
May 16th, 2015 is a BIG DAY for 27 of our young parishioners. At 10:00 am on that Saturday they will celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation at the Cathedral of St. Paul. Archbishop John Nienstedt or one of the auxiliary bishops will preside at this special Mass in which these young people will declare to God, their families, and the world that they desire to live their Christian faith in the Catholic Church. Many years ago at their Baptism their parents and godparents brought them into our Christian family. Now for the first time the Church is asking whether or not they choose to live this gift/responsibility within our Catholic family. The adults in their lives now believe that they are ready to answer this question.
As your pastor it is my responsibility to make sure that they are ready; in fact, just prior to the start of the Confirmation Mass the Archbishop will ask me about their readiness. In good faith I need to be able to say “Yes”; thus, over the past three months I have conducted a final interview with each of our candi- dates. Not only did I ask them whether they want to receive this final sacrament of initiation which will now identify them as an adult in the eyes of our Church; but also, I made sure that they understood the basic tenets of what it means to be Christian and Catholic in today’s world. I am happy to report that the interviews have gone very well. I am encouraged by the faith I discovered in these young people who are the future of our Church. A BIG THANK YOU to the parents, godparents, teachers, extended family members, and fellow parishioners for the good job we are doing to prepare these candidates.
I ask that you keep our candidates in your prayers during these final days of preparation. This weekend the entire class will be away on their “Confirmation Retreat.” This is an opportunity for them to reflect on the upcoming celebration. May these young parishioners be ready to say “Yes” to the Lord and our Catholic faith. And then, we need to challenge them in how will they live our faith in today’s world?
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Consider the following story —
Before the age of electricity, city streets were lit after dark by gas lamps. Lamplighters went about every night, lighting the lamps with a flaming torch. One night, when he was advanced in age, the 19th-century British writer John Ruskin was seated at a window in his house. Across the valley was a street on a hillside. There the old man could see the torch of the lamplighter igniting lamps as he went. Because of the darkness, however, Ruskin could not see the lamplighter. He could see only his torch and the trail of lights it left behind. After watching for a while, Ruskin pointed to the trail of lights and said to a friend sitting next to him: “That lamplighter is a good example of how Christian men and women should live. You may never have seen them. But you know they passed through the world by the trail of lights they left behind.”
My brothers and sisters in Christ, what John Ruskin said about Christian men and women can also be said about each of us. People will know we passed through the world by the trail of lights we leave behind us. May God bless our Confirmation students and each of us as we strive to be the light of Christ for the entire world to see.
Easter peace, Fr. Brian