Teach all Nations

07-01-2018From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

I sit down to write these words having just come from our annual Vacation Bible School (VBS). It was wonderful to see about 65 children and young people there. For those who may not know, VBS is a week of fun and faith-filled activities for the young members of our parish. By means of puppet shows, skits, crafts, games, and a bunch of other things, the kids learn both Bible stories and things about our Faith.

I want to thank all the adults who made this Vacation Bible School such a success – especially Jo-Ann Scott. All three of our priests, as well as Deacon Rob – were present for much of the program. The teens and middle schoolers who helped out in so many ways did a great job and deserve a lot of thanks. They all did a great job at helping our parish pass our faith on to the next generation!

Being at Vacation Bible School this week reminded me of another important way our parish passes on the Good News: RCIA. RCIA is short for the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults – the process by which adult converts are welcomed into the Catholic Church and adult Catholics who never made their First Communion or Confirmation are prepared for those sacraments. Last year our parish was blessed to have one adult Baptized, and several others received into Full Communion with the Church!

Please think about people you know who might benefit from this program. Perhaps you have a family member who – for whatever reason – was never Baptized or Confirmed. Maybe you have a non-Catholic friend or loved one who wants to learn more about our Catholic Faith. Or a spouse who would love to receive Communion with the rest of the family on Sunday. We generally meet three Sunday mornings a month right after the 9 AM Mass for an hour. Inviting such people to RCIA is a good way to fulfill Jesus command to "Teach all nations." Presentations on various aspects of the Catholic Faith are made by various people, including myself and some of our deacons and priests and lay people. Special arrangements can be made for those who cannot come at that time, so that we can meet the needs of all those who were interested.

If you know of an adult who wishes to become Catholic or receive First Communion and/or Confirmation, please point them my way. I would be glad to speak with them. My hope is to start our regular meetings in October, with a view to finishing up in time for Easter.

As you know, I was on retreat the week before last. I prayed for each of you as promised, and took special time to pray for the many special intentions people gave me. I’m thankful to have been able to spend a week at the seminary hearing good talks, connecting with other priests (there were 46 of us on the retreat), and enjoying some genuine spiritual renewal.

Happy Fourth of July!

Fr. John