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Locked Down and Waiting for Sacraments of Initiation
Easter 2020 will be memorable for many Catholics—our first Easter without even the option of Easter Mass. For every member of the elect, and the candidates for full communion into the Church, this Easter was supposed to be memorable for another reason. After months of preparation in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, and likely years of prayer, they were looking forward to baptism, confirmation, and their first holy communion at the Easter Vigil Mass. Easter Vigil came and went.
Macklen Scribner, a candidate preparing to enter the Church, said, as someone who started RCIA with a “convince me perspective,” that there is “a sense of bitter irony” in having to wait longer. While he was not certain he wanted to join the Church when he started RCIA last fall, by Christmas he was ready to be confirmed. Looking at the situation now, he said, “This is a form of delayed gratification. I look forward to entering the Church, and I am trying to keep in good spirits.”
During Holy Week, Bishop Thomas Daly wrote a letter to all those preparing for the sacraments, expressing his closeness to them. He encouraged them “to have hope and to carry this cross just as our Lord carried his own cross to Calvary. We know that the suffering He endured was crushed through the glory of the resurrection. In the same way, this pandemic will pass and give way to the glory and goodness of almighty God.”
At the time of printing, a new date has not yet been set for the sacraments of initiation, but Bishop Daly and the pastors of the diocese look forward to welcoming all those who long to enter into the full communion with Christ and his Church.
Tyler Morgan, who is preparing for baptism, said the whole situation has caused him to “fall back on prayer.” For him, he said it helps “to pray when it is getting to big for me, to trust God then.” Having to wait to join the Church and relying on prayer more has, for Morgan, had some surprising benefits: “It has strengthened my faith and increased my desire to receive the sacraments.”
Dan Israel, a candidate for full communion said he feels similary, saying, “I’ve naturally been looking forward to the sacraments, was almost there, so it’s been a letdown. On the other hand, the delay has served to reaffirm my desire, strengthen my faith and reveal to me the depth of my commitment. The latter was an unexpected experience, and a deeply joyful one.” As we are now in the Easter season, the expectant joy of the many elect and candidates is a sign of vitality and hope for the future of the Church.