Just a week ago, we had the funeral of Marion Fischer who was the librarian for St. Matthias School for 45 years. She and her husband Francis “Frank” Fischer were among the founders of our parish. She passed on her faith to her children and grandchildren by her example of living the faith and participating both in the church ministries and community activities. Her family said that she would not be deterred by the most dire weather conditions from attending Sunday Mass! May she rest in peace. As we mourn the passing away of this vibrant disciple of Jesus, and become aware of the decreasing number of the founding members of our parish, we need to ask ourselves this important question: how seriously are we taking on the mantle of these pioneers in living and passing on our faith?
Today is national Catechetical Sunday – a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the role that each person plays, by virtue of Baptism, in handing on the faith and being a witness to the Gospel. This year’s theme for the Catechetical Sunday is: “This is my body given for you” (Luke 22:19). We have heard so many times that the Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life. The term “Eucharist” originates from the Greek word eucharistia, meaning thanksgiving. In the celebration of the Eucharist, bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit and the instrumentality of the priest. The whole Christ is truly present — body, blood, soul, and divinity — under the appearances of bread and wine, the glorified Christ who rose from the dead. This is what the Church means when she speaks of the “Real Presence” of Christ in the Eucharist.
Catechists are the ones who are teaching this and other truths about our faith to our children who attend our religious education/GIFT and sacramental preparation programs. We, here at St. Matthias, are blessed with wonderful women and men who give their time and energy as Catechists. We are very grateful to them. Today at all the Masses you will hear some of them speak to us about their passion as Catechists. I hope their testimony will inspire some of you to volunteer as Catechists. Being part of St. Matthias is life-giving as is the experience of so many – including Marion Fischer who, in the words of her children, “found her strength in her work among the children.”
Learning of our faith is not to be relegated only to children. We all need this learning. Don’t we all have many doubts about what we believe and practice? That is why we all need to choose something intentionally from the opportunities our parish offers. We are preparing to begin the RCIA sessions and the Fall Into Faith small faith sharing groups. These are excellent ways to learn more about the Word of God and our faith in a setting where we have ample time and freedom to clarify many of our questions on faith matters. I invite us all to consider this seriously and make a decision in the coming weeks as you will be hearing more about these two programs.
Your brother in Christ,
Fr. Abraham Orapankal