St. Joseph Parish Mission Statement
The Hands of Christ … Open To All Las Manos de Cristo … Abiertas a Todos
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Pastoral Ponderings . . .
Ken Stanczyk, Director of Adult Ministry
Period of Purification and Enlightenment
Back on the First Sunday of Advent, three adults celebrated the Rite of Acceptance and Welcoming and began the formal process of preparation to join the Catholic Church. One of them, Huong Le, was received into full communion on Sunday, February 2. The remaining two, Parker Shipley and Patrick Stemper, will join the Catholic faith at the Easter Vigil on Saturday, April 11. Parker is a baptized Christian (candidate), while Patrick (catechumen) will be baptized at the Vigil. This final period of preparation for RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) participants is known as the Period of Purification and Enlightenment, and coincides with the season of Lent, the time when those who are already Catholic prepare to renew their baptismal covenant.
Previously during their preparation sessions, Parker and Patrick had been learning about the content of the Catholic Faith. During the next six weeks that focus will change. “[Purification and Enlightenment] is a period of more intense spiritual preparation, consisting more in interior reflection than in catechetical instruction, and is intended to purify the minds and hearts of the elect as they search their own consciences and do penance.” (RCIA 139) Sounds similar to what we in the pews should be experiencing during Lent. Therefore, for both the RCIA participants and the local community, the Lenten season is a time for spiritual recollection in preparation for the celebration of the paschal mystery. (RCIA 138) At the Easter Vigil, the faithful will renew their baptismal vows as the participants profess their faith in Christ and the Catholic Church.
Besides the sessions, Patrick will also be participating in some important Rites during the period of Purification and Enlightenment, such as Rite of Election with the Archbishop at the Cathedral, the Scrutinies, and the Presentations. The Scrutinies that take place during this period help the rest of us reflect on sin in our lives and renew our covenant relationship with God. They are a good preparation for the baptized to celebrate the Sacrament of Penance. Patrick will also continue to be dismissed from Mass following the homily to further explore the meaning of the scriptures in his life, until he is able to join us at the Eucharistic table during the Easter Vigil. The Sunday 8:00 a.m. Mass community has witnessed Patrick’s participation, and will continue to do so during Lent. I ask that the rest of you please support and pray for Parker and Patrick as they begin this final period of preparation. May we also join them through our preparation this Lent to enter more fully into the paschal mystery at Easter.