As you know, our 2021 RCIA class is very large with 25 adults. Thank you to those of you who picked up their names and prayed for them. Most of them were present at the Easter Vigil and received one or more of the Sacraments of Initiation. Those absent will receive on another day. “Congratulations to our neophytes.” Now, that is a word we don’t hear often. A “neophyte” (its Greek root means the newly planted) is a term used for those who have been initiated as full members of a religion like Christianity or Judaism or one who has joined a religious order. In our context, a neophyte is one who has been incorporated into the fullness of the life of the Church as the Body of Christ. Now these new members enter into the final phase of the RCIA process which is known as Mystagogy, which simply means learning about the mysteries. The RCIA instruction no.244 says: “This is a time for the community and the neophytes together to grow in deepening their grasp of the paschal mystery and in making it part of their lives through meditation on the Gospel, sharing in the Eucharist, and doing the works of charity. ….”
What is interesting is that the Church’s focus of the mystagogy is the Community into which these new members have been incorporated! It means that mystagogy is a time for us all to grow in understanding the paschal mystery. The entire purpose of the RCIA process is to lead the participants into a relationship of communion and intimacy with Jesus. As the community of St. Matthias, we are an important part of mystagogy.
Our RCIA process is coordinated by Phyllis Stone with her teammates Anne Marie Francis, Gondee Tibay, Mary-Frances Reavey, and Carmen Calvimontes. They have been doing an amazing job every year, but it has been very challenging this year due to the pandemic. And I wish to thank them sincerely for rising up to the challenges and carrying out this ministry of faith formation and evangelization of those who wish to be part of the community of faith in Jesus Christ. They are true models and torchbearers of faith.
But let us remember that we all are called to be models and torchbearers of Christian witness and experience to the neophytes as well as to all those we meet in our daily living. The Sunday Mass is key to a successful mystagogy because the three ways mentioned above – meditation on the Gospel and sharing in the Eucharist which leads us to the works of charity – are meant for the whole community’s full, conscious and active participation.
I have a request: you may know some adults who may be not be baptized, or who are baptized but not received Communion or Confirmation. Why not speak to them about receiving these Sacraments of Initiation? Why not invite them to join our RCIA process? That is another sign of you becoming a
witness to Jesus.
Your brother in Christ,
Fr. Abraham Orapankal