This weekend we celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation at OLM for 100 of our young adults. We welcome Bishop John Noonan of Orlando who has traveled to be with us and celebrate the Confirmation Mass on Sunday at 5:00PM. We also offer our prayers and congratulations to our Confirmation Candidates, their chosen Sponsors and their families. It is a great occasion of joy, faith and hope for the newly confirmed, our parish and our Church as we celebrate Confirmation. These young adults from our parish receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit as they confirm their Catholic Faith first given to them at Baptism.
At the Confirmation Mass, Bishop Noonan will lead them in a re-affirmation of their baptismal promises. These promises were made when they were infants, but now they will have the responsibility of making them in their own name while they stand on their own two feet. Just as Baptism gives new life, Eucharist nourishes life, and Reconciliation restores life when it is broken, Confirmation strengthens that life by the gifts of the Holy Spirit. It is about strengthening what God has given, and continues to give, to his sons and daughters.
The Sacrament of Confirmation is not the Catholic equivalent to the Jewish bar mitzvah. Confirmation is not a “coming of age” celebration. True, most young people are just beginning to pass into early adulthood when they receive the sacrament. But Confirmation is not about coming of age. Reception of the Sacrament of Confirmation does not mark the end of seeking faith and understanding. We never outgrow a need for a deeper knowledge and appreciation of our faith. The Sacrament of Confirmation is not a rite of passage, nor a graduation from religion class, nor a ratification of a personal faith choice. Rather, it’s all about what God is doing for his beloved daughters and sons.
In Confirmation, God is strengthening the divine life which he gave at Baptism, nourishing us in the Eucharist, and reconciling with us in Penance. God does this so that we might better defend and witness to the faith through the gifts and workings of the Holy Spirit. And there are—and will be—many situations where we and these newly Confirmed are called upon to defend and witness to our faith. The Sacrament of Confirmation helps us remain faithful to our baptismal commitment to bear witness to Christ and to serve others in love and with charity. The gifts of the Holy Spirit received at Confirmation are virtuous strengths required to live as a Christian. They help a Catholic disciple lead a life of faith that is both fruitful and complete. Thus wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, fortitude, piety, and fear of the Lord, are the divine aids to living a joyful and faithful Catholic life. So please pray for our newly Confirmed that they might continue to bear witness to Christ, remain faithful to Sunday Mass, and continue to grow in the love and knowledge God and His Church.
I wish to thank all the many parishioners who made our Annual OLM Feast Week a successful week of faith and fun for our parish family. We began with a great day of golf at the Annual Saints and Scholars Golf Tournament. Neither Fr. Barrow or myself came close to winning it! It was a beautiful day for the 128 golfers who came out in support of our parish. Our Feast Day Mass was solemn and joyful and Fr. Eric Silva gave an inspiring homily on mercy. The Holy Hour of Mercy with our OLM Adult and Children’s Choirs singing sacred music in honor of Mary was truly beautiful. We thank Fr. Brendan Rowley for his outstanding reflection on living a life a mercy. The Act of Mercy saw a great group of parishioners both young and old make hundreds of sandwiches and provide new socks for the homeless. It was a great work of mercy and many benefited from it. And our Octoberfest saw a couple hundred parishioners enjoying a night of fun as a parish family. Truly a great evening of fun and food as we welcome the month dedicated to our patroness, Mother Mary!
Join us for October Devotions on Monday at 7:00PM. Be well. Do good. God Bless. Go Pats! Oremus pro invicem!