Each year the parish embarks on a program of sacramental preparation with and for those children of our parish who will be receiving the sacraments of Reconciliation, Communion for the first time, and Confirmation. Our “program” is not onerous, nor does it place undue burdens on parents or students. Our goals are to introduce those preparing and those accompanying them to a joyful experience of community in the parish and to help them better understand and appreciate the sacrament for which they are preparing.
When the Church or parish speaks of sacramental preparation, it is meant to be a work of the whole community, not just a few “volunteers.” Our baptismal calling is to share in the work of Christ and the Church in proclaiming the gospel, the Good News of God’s love. Recall from last week’s article that in our role, responsibility, and duty to be evangelizers, we “accomplish this task with ever increasing love, zeal and joy” (Evangelii Nuntiandi, 1975, no. 1).
Over the coming months, we will have the opportunity to demonstrate the love, zeal, and joy which Pope St. Paul VI encourages all Catholics to espouse as evangelizers. The children and their parents will be participating in meetings, retreats, and at Sunday celebrations for the Rite of Enrollment. We must keep these members of our community in our prayers and do all we can to make them feel they are welcome with us as we all grow in our life and journey of faith. The work of the New Evangelization is directed not only to the spiritual growth of parishioners, but to those “who lack a meaningful relationship to the Church and no longer experience the consolation born of faith. The Church, in her maternal concern, tries to help them experience a conversion which will restore the joy of faith to their hearts and inspire a commitment to the Gospel” (Evangelii Gaudium, 2013, no. 15).
Each of us, giving joyful witness to our faith and communion with Christ, is a messenger of the Good News, an evangelizer to those who may not have the close relationship with Christ that we enjoy. The Holy Spirit inspires all that we do to being the gospel and person of Jesus to our neighbour; act with confidence according to the Spirit’s prompting and show to others the face of Christ.