29 October 2018

Rite of Acceptance yesterday.

I'm still trying to process what yesterday was as a whole, but I have something to show you.  Yesterday, as I mentioned in my previous post, was the Rite of Acceptance for us who are participating in the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) classes to become a Catholic.  We were brought formally before the congregation as either a Candidate for Confirmation or as a Catechumen (someone who's not been baptized yet).

My friend, Jenny, got a few pictures of the event yesterday, and now that I know it's alright to show them publicly, I'm happy to share this with you all.

I will explain - as best I'm able - what each photo is, what's happening in the photos, so you all can have a clearer understanding of what you're seeing.  Bear with me, I'm still trying to wrap my head around this having been an actual thing, at long last.  And if this is as overwhelming as it is NOW, I am anxious to see how much bigger of intensity it will be when I'm finally Confirmed.  :)

 The person in the green robes is my beloved priest, Fr Coleman.  Where we are all standing (I'm in the black shirt with my hands folded up in front of me), is the doorway into the sanctuary.  We're all gathered there, there are three of us being brought in.  Myself, another gal, and a young man.  Behind us are our sponsors, the people who have taken on the calling of mentoring us on our spiritual journey into the Church.  The people on the left, in the white, are the altar servers (I forget what they're officially called).  Father Coleman approached each of us with three questions:  What is our name, what is it we ask of God's Church, and what does that thing we ask of God's Church offer us?  Each of us, of course, had different reasons for being there, wanting to become part of God's Church.  :)
 He asked the lady next to me her reasons for wanting to be part of the Church...
 He's asking my name and reasons...
Asking the young man who's also coming into the Church for his reasons...

After this reception, there's the First Acceptance of the Gospel where Fr Coleman has a thing he says over us about John 1.  He then addresses the sponsors about their presenting us to the Church (if you think about it like a wedding, 'who gives this woman to be married,' kind of thing, it's really, REALLY similar to that).  He asks the sponsors if they are ready to help us to find and follow the Church, and they acknowledge in the affirmative.  Father prays over us all, and then he walks to the altar at the front of the Church and invites us down to join him.  This is the part where it got SUPER scary for me (simply because I'm painfully shy and introverted, so being where people see me - like REALLY see me... it's nerve-wracking!  haha!), BUT I'm grateful to say I survived.

 So, what you're seeing here, is really beautiful.  There is the Signing the Candidates with the Cross prayers.  Father signs the forehead and other senses of each of us, and then the Sponsors follow suit.  Father calls each of us forward with our sponsors, one at a time, and he prays over us a blessing.  Deacon Steve (the one in the white robe and green and gold sash on the far right) intones and the whole congregation responds with, 'Glory and praise to You, O Lord Jesus Christ.'  Then Fr Coleman goes through the remaining senses: ears to hear the voice of the Lord; eyes to see the glory of God; lips to respond to the Word of God; heart to dwell there by faith; shoulders to bear the gentle yoke of Christ; hands to be known in the work we do; and feet to walk in the way of Christ.  After each signing is completed, we return back to where we were standing and face the congregation and Father makes the sign of the Cross over all of us as a group and blesses us with the sign of eternal life in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  We all respond as a group with 'Amen,' and we at this point are no longer 'Inquirers' but either 'Candidates' or 'Catechumens' (depending on if we've already been baptized).


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