Gather for an Exchange of Witness

November 16, 2023
Dear Parishioners and Friends of St. John’s,
A common question in a social environment is “what do you do for a living?”. My answer focuses on working in ministry for the Catholic Church accompanying people to encounter our living God. You can imagine an array of responses. Fellow Catholics leaning in to learn about the sacramental preparation and adult formation. Other reactions from an openness to want to learn more, to an awkward silence, or dismissal of the value of the profession. In reality, I like the opportunity to share how God has led me to this ministry work and a possible opportunity to invite a further witness of faith. Living in Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit and for the glory of God the Father has an adventure of faith unlike other worldly pursuits. 

This weekend we call forth adults and teens who have responded to this adventure of faith and are in the process of becoming Catholic or being Confirmed in the Catholic faith. This fall they followed the Holy Spirit’s promptings and started the steps forward of awakening faith. This process for adults has a name change of Order of Christian Initiation of Adults (OCIA) which is a slight change from Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). A recent update in the process clarifies that Order is more encompassing of the many Rites that are celebrated within the process. We have another large class this year. Our adults in the OCIA have gathered in this Inquiry time where the beginnings of the spiritual life and the fundamentals of Christian teaching have taken root within them. Sponsors accompany them each week and give witness of their life in Christ and follow them on their path of understanding and integrating an encounter with God to developing a prayer life. The path is not merely a transfer of information but a work of transformation. This Saturday night our adults accompanied by their sponsors will be welcomed into the Catechumenate stage where they will declare their intention to the Church of the progress of faith they have made and ask for the prayers and witness of the Church. They come forward witnessing to the work God has done in their life and looking for the witness of Catholics on how to be a disciple. We gather for an exchange of witness realizing that we, as the Body of Christ, need the example and prayer of each other to live this life of discipleship well. 

Our readings today speak of this exchange. In our Gospel, we hear the words that each of us desires to hear at the end of our life standing before our Savior, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:21) 

As we celebrate the Rite of Acceptance and Welcome of our OCIA adult catechumens and candidates at the Saturday evening Mass, and our confirmation teens celebrate the Rite of Welcome (a new addition to the program) with their sponsor and parents at the Sunday evening Mass, let us pray for their journey of faith and give witness to them of Catholic discipleship. Together we can be the Children of the Light that St. Paul encourages (Thessalonians 5:5), witnessing to each other and the world.

In Christ,
Jill Fink
Director of Discipleship