May 15, 2016
Dear Parishioners and Friends,
Each year the bishop goes from parish to parish, administering the Sacrament of Confirmation to candidates throughout the Diocese of Baton Rouge. Most are adolescents, who are confirmed as part of their own Parish’s School of Religion. Yet annually the bishop also celebrates confirmation here at the Cathedral. On this occasion he confirms adults as well as our own Parish’s young people (along with a handful of other teenagers whose illness or other emergency situation prevented them from taking part in their own parish church). Anyway, this special celebration will be this weekend, May 15, at our 12:00 noon Mass. Again we expect almost 100 persons to present themselves as candidates, with their sponsors and families, for this special outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Everyone is welcome to attend.
It’s Catholic doctrine that the Sacrament of Confirmation “perfects” Baptismal grace. It imparts the Holy Spirit upon the believer, strengthening the bonds with Christ and His Church, and helps a Catholic to “bear witness” to his or her faith in words and deeds. And since like Baptism it imprints a “spiritual mark” (also called a “character”) on the soul, it can only be validly received once in a person’s life. (You can look all of this up in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, in nos. 1285-1321, but especially in nos. 1316-1317!)
If you’ve never been confirmed, it’s not too early to begin thinking about next year. There are many ways in which someone who for one reason or another did not receive it when a child or teenager can prepare to be confirmed. Obviously, participating at Mass every Sunday and leading a moral life are essentials! But frequently “rusty Catholics” can begin preparing by taking part in the Parish’s R.C.I.A. process.
Last week I shared with you my hopes that some much-needed updating to the rectory bathrooms might be able to be done this year. I still hope that can happen, but since last week we had to stop and substitute something else even more important: the 50-year-old rectory air conditioning system finally gave up the ghost and had to be replaced. It certainly gave great service for half-a-century, but we hadn’t budgeted for its complete replacement this year. If you can spare our building fund another special donation, now would be the time to do it!
Anyway, after a weeklong install, the new system is up and running. It was a real challenge for the technicians from Gallo Mechanical Services to “cut out” the old units and assemble the new ones in the restricted crawl spaces above the rectory ceilings. (You have to work around concrete beams and trusses, you can’t move ’em!) Fortunately the weather was mild enough last week to make sleeping without air conditioning tolerable!
I’m still soliciting input regarding changes to our weekend Mass schedule here at the Cathedral. As you know, our new diocesan Pastoral Plan is urging parishes do this, to eliminate unnecessary Masses and provide for better liturgy. Most of the suggestions I’ve heard revolve around eliminating one of our Sunday Masses, which should result in more full congregations. But what should be the schedule? Our neighbor Sacred Heart has Mass at 9 & 11 am. Should we, say, schedule ours at 8:30 & 10:30? Or 9:30 & 11:30? Or what? Frankly, I don’t see how it will be possible to so align our schedule with a neighbor’s that the two pastors can “cover” for each other in case of emergency. But by staggering our Mass times at least we can keep the fact of fewer Masses from becoming overly inconvenient.
If you don’t have an opinion, well, then we know that from your silence! But if you do have a preference, make sure we hear it. Oh, and what should be the timetable? Wouldn’t you think that transitioning to a new schedule is something that might best take place during the summer months, so that by the time school and football arrive a new routine will be well-established? That sort of makes sense to me…