3rd Sunday of Easter


Dear Friends,

We are now pretty familiar with the tradition of having a number of adults receiving one or more of the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation) through our RCIA  (or OCIA, the new name that the Bishops have proposed). We had a total of eleven people receiving these at the Easter Vigil this year: Jason Olmedo-Hernandez, Phyllis Carbone, Gigi Fortuna-Clase, Beverly Gilliam, Norvin Gilliam, Maxwell Lumax, Claudia Roque, Chelsea Lopez, Amanda Fortuna Clase, Josh Lumax and Alexis Lumax. We congratulate these neophytes. Now, that is a word we don’t hear often. A “neophyte” (its Greek root means the newly planted) is a term used for those who have been initiated as full members of a religion like Christianity or Judaism or one who has joined a religious order. In our context, a neophyte is one who has been incorporated into the fullness of the life of the Church as the Body of Christ. Now these new members enter into the final phase of the RCIA process which is known as Mystagogy, which simply means learning about the mysteries. The RCIA instruction no.244 says: “This is a time for the community and the neophytes together to grow in deepening their grasp of the paschal mystery and in making it part of their lives through meditation on the Gospel, sharing in the Eucharist, and doing the works of charity. ….” 

What is interesting is that the Church’s focus of the mystagogy is the Community into which these new members have been incorporated! It means that mystagogy is a time for us all to grow in understanding the paschal mystery. The entire purpose of the RCIA process is to lead the participants into a relationship of communion and intimacy with Jesus. As the community of St. Matthias, we are an important part of mystagogy.

Our RCIA process is coordinated by Anne-Marie Francis and Mary Frances Reavey with their teammates Gondee Tibay, Mercy Ekwere, Dee Christmas and Carmen Calvimontes.  They have been doing an amazing job every year as they guide these men and women in the ways of our faith. I wish to thank them sincerely for rising up to the challenges and carrying out this ministry of faith formation and evangelization of those who wish to be part of the community of faith in Jesus Christ. They are true models and torchbearers of faith.

Let us remember that we all are called to be models and torchbearers of Christian witness and experience to the neophytes as well as to all those we meet in our daily living. The Sunday Mass is key to a successful mystagogy because the three ways mentioned above – meditation on the Gospel and sharing in the Eucharist which leads us to the works of charity – are meant for the whole community’s full, conscious and active participation.

I have a request: you may know some adults who may not be baptized, or who are baptized but have not received Communion or Confirmation. Why not speak to them about receiving these Sacraments of Initiation? Why not invite them to join our next RCIA class? That is another sign of you becoming a witness to Jesus.

Your brother in Christ,

Fr. Abraham Orapankal