Last weekend I had the joy of returning home to St. Louis—finally, to see mom and the family—and being part of the First Holy Communion of my grandnephew, Charlie Grissom. I had the honor of giving Charlie our Lord in the Eucharist for his first time.
It hit me that, during this radiant Easter season, many are reveling in the rich sacramental life of the Church. Can I offer congratulations to those of you sharing the risen life of Christ through the sacraments during these uplifting days?
First Holy Communion: To our eight year olds who have or will receive Jesus in Holy Communion for the first time, I want you to know how happy we are for you, and how proud of you we all are.
Jesus loves you so much that He wants to live in your heart and soul! That’s how close He is to you. Remember His Last Supper? He knew that the next day He would die for us on the cross. But, He wanted to stay with us. So, the night before He died, He gave us the gift of Holy Communion, so He could live in our hearts.
Every time we receive Him in Holy Communion, we are closer to Him than we can ever be, except in heaven. That’s why we want to receive Him every Sunday.
Moms and dads, grandparents, godparents—thanks for keeping the promise you made on the day of that child’s day of Baptism: that you would do your best to raise that baby in our Catholic faith.
Confirmation: Thousands of our young Catholics are approaching the Sacrament of Confirmation these days. Their souls, already the home of God through Baptism, Confession, and Holy Communion, are fortified with the very gift of the Holy Spirit through this powerful sacrament. God’s life within us is fragile, and it takes much trust and grace to keep that life sturdy as we become adults. So, the Lord comes through again with the gift of the Holy Spirit! That Holy Spirit will help us through the temptations and trials of mature life. The Holy Spirit in Confirmation does for us what He did for those apostles at Pentecost: He changed fear to courage, doubt to faith, discouragement to hope.
Marriage: a lot of weddings these days! Not only are spring and early summer pleasant days to marry, but this Sacrament of Matrimony assures our couples that it takes, not two, but three, to make a successful marriage: husband, wife, and Jesus.
Congratulations on inviting the Lord to be a big part of your new life. Remember how He worked His first miracle for that newly married couple by changing water into wine at Cana? Well, He’s changing two lives into one as you participate in the Sacrament of Matrimony. Congratulations! Alleluia!
Holy Orders: Soon, six men will be ordained priests for the archdiocese and four more for the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, to serve here. Other religious orders will welcome new priests as well.
And, in June, seven men will kneel for the diaconate, becoming deacons for service in our parishes.
These new priests and deacons will not only share the risen life of Jesus in a more intense way as they are ordained, but will now become agents of that grace and mercy to God’s People through their ministry. Alleluia!
Religious Profession: In the upcoming weeks of Eastertide, the Ascension, Pentecost and the weeks after, dozens of women will bond themselves more intimately with Jesus and His Church as they progress in the vocation of consecrated religious life. We love them, thank God for them, and need them!
It’s the season of new life, not only in nature but in the life of the Spirit, the supernatural! Alleluia!