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Medjugorje Blog - From this world to the next. He said to the woman: Your faith has saved you; go in peace. ~ Luke 7:50
By: Peace Pilgrim

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Saturday, 26-Mar-2005 00:00 Email | Share | Bookmark
RCIA: Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and First Communion

We began our day with morning prayers.
and the intentions-burning rite.
Fr. Johnny spends quality time with his kids.
Mere hours away from our baptisms...anticipa-a-a-a-a-tion!
Rehearsing the carrying of the altar cloth.
With my sponsor/godmother, Fe, full of faith, hope and charity.
With his sponsor/godfather, Thep, a deep thinker.
We set aside time to be with ourselves...
over a light lunch at a quiet, intimate restaurant.
Our family & friends who played key roles in our conversion and
baptism gather for our "last supper" -- an early dinner.
Yours truly with our God-kids and God-grandson.
Samara, Jonathan, Thep, Virgie, Sue...
"Look at G-pa, Austin!"
Kathy, Darryl, Mary Lou, Fe, Porfirio...
Time to go see G-Ma & G-Pa get dunked.
We gathered around the Easter Vigil fire...
which signifies the Light that came into the world burning...
with the brilliance of a hundred billion trillion stars.
A Light that will never be diminished.
Our last steps toward fusing our lives with Christ's.
Father Johnny, getting ready to adopt his newest kids.
"We know that all things work for good for those who love God,"
who are called according to His purpose."
For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed...
to be conformed to the image of His Son"
"For those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.
For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back...
into fear. but you received a spirit of adoption,
through which we cry, "Abba, Father!"
The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit...
that we are children of God,
and if children, then heirs,
heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ,
if only we suffer with him
so that we may also be glorified with him." ~ Romans 14-17
We are confirmed.
Message from Mother Mary: ""Dear children!
Today I call you to love.
Little children, love each other with God's love.
At every moment, in joy and in sorrow,
may love prevail and, in this way,
love will begin to reign in your hearts.
The risen Jesus will be with you
and you will be His witnesses.
I will rejoice with you
and protect you with my motherly mantle.
Especially, little children,
I will watch your daily conversion with love.
Thank you for having responded to my call."
The newly baptized, confirmed and communioned.
Joyful, joyful, joyful!
The newly baptized with Father Victor.
Presenting Joseph Mary & Mary Joseph of Jesus!
With Bonnie, dear, dear sister in Christ.
Three beautiful flower lei from August, Linda & April. Mahalo!
We made it!
Fr. Pol playfully teases: "This is Ms. RCIA!" Hehehe! Alleluia!
This, our baptismal day, was the most joyful day of my life. I gave myself wholly to Our Lord, Jesus Christ, as did my husband. The profundity and sanctity of this day is beyond words and best left unconformed and unfettered by language's limitations. Instead, I have sealed this most divine and merciful of experiences into my heart.

I was asked to give "My Faith Journey" testimony and to speak on behalf of my RCIA classmates at the end of the Mass. How do you summarize a life's journey? Every minute of my life has been a preparation for my baptism...

I got up to the ambo, and I spontaneously expressed:
"I love being Catholic!"

And then I shared what I wrote with much help from the Holy Spirit:

I was led to my baptism, confirmation and first communion and to this church by the Holy Spirit. I am truly grateful that I listened for and heeded that "small, still voice" that is the Holy Spirit.

A year ago, out of the blue, St. Joseph seized my awareness and led me to Our Blessed Mother. Just as she visited Lourdes and Fatima, Mother Mary is now visiting a mystical place called Medjugorje, a remote village in Europe. Last spring, I was called to visit her with an inner prompting that was crystal-clear and compelling: "Come, come quickly. You are my eleventh hour convert."

At first, I seriously questioned this call to this Catholic pilgrimage site. "Why me?" I asked. "I'm a non-denominational Christian, not a Catholic! And the only time I ever think of Mary is when I happen upon a Christmas nativity scene -- or when I hear the Beatles's song, LET IT BE, the one that goes: "When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me, Speaking words of wisdom, let it be."

Trained as a scientist, I thoroughly researched Medjugorje over the next few days. As I did so, the urgency of the call was undeniable, especially when I learned that this was the last time she would be visiting Earth in this way. Days later, my husband, born and raised Buddhist, was also called.

We took our joint leap of faith and flew there at the first opportunity. There, we experienced Mother Mary's loving presence and were immersed in a supernatural peace. A PEACE beyond words. Pope John Paul II himself has said, "If I weren't Pope, I'd be there."

Once there, we learned that every Medjugorje pilgrim has been individually and personally invited there by Mother Mary. She definitely had a plan for us, two lost sheep who had no clue that they were lost. One morning, in the pre-dawn hours, we climbed a tall mountain while praying the Stations of the Cross. With each step, Mother Mary was leading us home to her Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ. She is said to greet the new day at the foot of the Cross placed at the mountain's summit. There, with her in prayer, we were converted. If we could be baptized then, we would have!

To draw us closer to her Son, Mother Mary asks for five things: pray the Rosary with your heart, fast, read the Bible, be faithful to the Eucharist and go to Confession. As non-Catholics, we could do the first three, but the Eucharist and Confession are Sacraments authored by Jesus Christ and found in His True Church, the Catholic Church.

With God, nothing is by chance. The Holy Family -- Joseph, Mary and Jesus -- had won our souls and embraced us as family. When we got back, the Holy Spirit led us to the Holy Family Church in search of the Sacraments. We immediately felt a connection with Father Johnny. Like Joseph, Mary, and Jesus, he is down-to-earth and humble, yet faithful and strong. Guess what his homily was about that day? The assumption of Mary! We saw it as a sign that this was the church that God had chosen for us. Well, of course, it's the HOLY FAMILY church! The next day, we signed up for RCIA classes -- and the rest, as they say, is history.

For those who may be wondering what RCIA stands for. It is the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. If you are interested in learning about the faith, joining the church or being confirmed: the class meets Monday evenings at 7.

The RCIA leg of our faith journey has been wonderful. Our class is made up of the most terrific people with hearts open to God, hand-picked and brought together by God. The RCIA Team not only taught us the Church's teachings, but of God's Infinite Love and Mercy. As we drew closer to Him, we drew closer to one another. Tonight, we are bonded as RCIA brothers and sisters in Christ for all eternity. Let us, my dear classmates and RCIA Team, make a promise before God to stay in touch and pray for each other.

* * *

And now I speak on behalf of my RCIA class:

Thank you, God, Holy Family, angels and saints for being with us, every step of this faith journey.

We would like to thank you, the church community of Holy Family, for so warmly welcoming us into the Body of Christ. Whenever you smiled at us, our hearts were warmed. Every time you raised your hands to bless us and pray for us, we were strengthened.

We would also like to thank our family and friends, some who have traveled from afar, who have come to celebrate with us. You are so near and dear to us.

We would like to thank our pastor, Father Johnny and Father Pol, Father Victor, Father Bill and Father Dave. Experiencing burgeoning growth, this Church is on fire with the Holy Spirit. Thank you for your vibrancy and dynamism and for giving us a view to eternity by calling us to be saints.

We would like to thank our sponsors and godparents. We are truly grateful to you for your inspired guidance and support.

To the RCIA team and teachers: You are -- and will always be -- among our our biggest blessings in life. I personally have never experienced such an outpouring of Christian love as yours. For eternity, we will remember and appreciate your tireless efforts. You have truly been there for each and every one of us.

Finally, from my heart to all of you here, I conclude with an invitation. We live in a noisy, busy world. God invites you to take take time out from that world and be still and listen for that "still, small voice" that is the Holy Spirit. It is called prayer.

May you respond to His call and may He take YOU to places of wonder that lead you to Heaven. After all, our life's purpose is so simple: to love God and our fellow humans and one day be together with Him in Heaven.

God bless you!

+ + +

Before retiring, we completed our 33-day total consecration of ourselves to Jesus Christ, Wisdom incarnate, through the hands of Mary, by St. Louis de Montfort, concluding with:

"Virgin most faithful, make me in everything so committed a disciple, imitator, and slave of Jesus, your Son, incarnate Wisdom, that I may become, through your intercession and example, fully mature with the fullness which Jesus possessed on earth, and with the fullness of his glory in heaven. Amen."

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