From Holy Saturday on, these last few weeks have been marked by a very large number of sacramental celebrations here at St. Edward the Confessor and San Felipe de Jesús. Sixteen people received all three Sacraments of Initiation—Baptism, Confirmation, and First Communion. Ninety-two young people were confirmed by Bishop Freyer. Over a hundred young people have received First Communion so far (and there are more to come); of course, that was preceded by their First Reconciliation earlier on this year. And all of this is in addition to our usual Baptisms, our regular Confessions and Masses, and a number of weddings and Anointings of the Sick.This is the first meaning of the word “celebrate” in our parish vision of “Celebrate, Serve, and Evangelize.”We celebrate the sacraments.
All of this sacramental activity reminds me that the sacraments are the heart and soul of Catholic living. The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that “the seven sacraments touch all the stages and all the important moments of Christian life: they give birth and increase, healing and mission to the Christian’s life of faith.” (n. 1210) The sacraments are one of the things that sets us apart from most other Christian denominations.
Since the sacraments are the channels of God’s grace in our lives, we cannot live without them. I hope we treasure these special encounters with Our Risen Lord, encounters that are just as real and redemptive as the encounters with the Lord that the Gospels tell us about. Weekly Mass is a special treasure among these celebrations, and hopefully it is a priority in our lives. May we always celebrate the Paschal Mystery with devotion, gratitude, and joy!