This Easter, those who have been journeying through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) finally received the sacraments of initiation (Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation) and were officially welcomed into the Catholic Church. Some had already been waiting for some time, with last year's COVID lockdowns putting a halt on the celebrations.
The preparation of catechumens (those to be baptised) and candidates (a baptised person who will be confirmed) takes place through a series of meetings in the parish where those seeking are introduced to Jesus through the Scriptures, Church teachings and testimonies.
‘During most of the COVID period, we held meetings via Zoom but we didn’t get the participant engagement we had in the face-to-face meetings,' said Tim Hamilton, the RCIA coordinator at St Mary’s, Greensborough.
Fortunately, though, the parish unexpectedly picked up one new catechumen during the COVID period. That catechumen was Chida, whose husband had already been preparing to receive the sacraments at Easter. A convert from Buddhism, Chida said she was happy to participate in the RCIA with her husband.
'I have a friend who also converted and she told me that she is very happy now,' said Chida. 'You learn more about God and his way.'
In the presence of the parish community, Chida and her husband were baptised at the Easter Vigil at St Mary's alongside Chris, who received the Sacrament of Confirmation. The oils that were blessed and consecrated by Archbishop Peter A Comensoli during this year's Chrism Mass were used as a symbol of strength and purification.
At St Simon's Parish in Rowville, four catechumens were baptised and welcomed into the Catholic Church at Easter.
Ayesha Kaur, 26, shared how overjoyed she was at being baptised during the dawn Mass, and how it represented for her a "letting go" of her old self and taking on new life.
'It's really special ... it means taking on Jesus at the centre of your life and continuing life with love and joy.'
Our warm congratulations to all those who were baptised and welcomed into the Catholic faith this Easter. May our loving God continue to bless and strengthen you on your journey of faith!
Australian Catholic Bishops Conference20 April 2021