In addition to having successfully carried off another Paschal Triduum (see previous post), two other large things have now passed off my plate and have left me feeling a little relieved.
On Saturday, I accompanied five Boy Scouts to Camp Tuscarora for the Catholic Camporee. At this camporee these five young men lead us on a Day of Recollection, their final step for earning their Pope Pius XII religious emblem, for which I have been their co-moderator since September. When I was in scouting I too earned my Pope Pius XII emblem, along with the Ad Altare Dei and Parvelui Dei emblems, and found this to be such a rewarding experience that, when offered to attend the Catholic Camporee last year in order to be trained a religious emblems counselor, I jumped at the opportunity to help provide others a similar experience as I had that I consider formative in my faith life. All five boys did great work in their presentations and in their reflection on their future occupational, vocational, and ministerial callings (which make up the bulk of the program). They then completed their Boards of Review at the camporee, and so have all been signed off to receive their emblems. We finished off with Mass at which my co-moderator for the Pope Pius XII award, Tricia Clemens, was recognized for her commitment to Catholic scouting with the Elizabeth Ann Seton Award. The only downside to Saturday (although with the drought we have found ourselves in, it is hard to call it a downside) was the downpour that at times made such a ruckus that we could not hear one another under the tarp where we were sheltering. All in all it was a rewarding experience.
Sunday morning also saw the completion of months of preparation for nine men and women (and six children) whom I have been preparing for reception into the full communion of the Catholic Church. These are our Christian brothers and sisters, baptized in other Christian traditions, who journeyed toward this Rite of Reception (as outlined in the RCIA) by which they made a profession of faith, were confirmed, and received the Eucharist for the first time. I have been privileged to spend a lot of time with these men and women, much of it on an individual basis, and to help them discern the ongoing will of God in their lives as they completed their initiation into the Body of Christ. And while it is somewhat of a relief to see this process through, I know that their life-long journey of faith has just begun and that, as their brother in faith, I have the joy of continuing my relationship with them as together we work to build up what we together receive and become. Because we have an ongoing, year-round, year-long catechumenal process at St. Thomas More, this isn’t the end of the program, however, as several folks remain, some preparing for baptism and others preparing for reception sometime in the future. (See an article I published in Catechumenate for more details). As has become my custom, we had another wonderful party at our home following this Rite of Reception in order to celebrate these men and women’s journey and to offer further opportunities to get know more folks in community. It was a wonderful celebration—both liturgically and otherwise.
PS: I guess it is also an accomplishment that I survived another year and celebrated my twenty-ninth birthday on Thursday.