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CURRENT ISSUE:  June 20, 2011
VOL. 49, NO. 12   •   Oakland, CA
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First Neophyte Mass
celebrated at cathedral
 
Bishop Salvatore J. Cordileone presided at the First Neophyte Mass celebrated in the Cathedral of Christ the Light. More than 60 neophytes (newly Baptized) and others who have completed the sacraments of initiation attended, as well as sponsors and guests.
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Catholics from Fremont to Martinez and from Alameda to Livermore attended the Neophyte Mass on June 5, the first such celebration at the Cathedral of Christ the Light.

Michael Williamson from St. Isidore Parish in Danvile was baptized at Easter. He attended the Neophyte Mass with his wife Julie and sons Nicholas and Benjamin.
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This was the last formal gathering for the neophytes (literally “newly planted,” baptized this past Easter) and those recently received into full communion of the Catholic Church.

They had participated in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults in their parishes for the past year or more, and many of them had gathered at the Cathedral in March for the Rite of Election. Now they returned, this time able to celebrate actively in the liturgy as fully initiated Catholics.

One RCIA director referred to the two events as “bookends” for these important stages in their faith lives. The Rite of Election at the beginning of Lent started the “Period of Purification and Enlightenment,” the final preparation for the sacraments of initiation — Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist. The Neophyte Mass at the end of the Easter season is part of the “Period of Mystagogy,” the weeks after initiation, as they explore the significance of the mysteries they have celebrated.

The Scriptures for the Feast of the Ascension were ideally suited to the occasion, focusing on the Great Commissioning to “go forth and make disciples of all nations.” The diversity of the neophytes and newly received reflected the many cultures and ethnicities of the Oakland Diocese, and spoke to the power of that commissioning and its ongoing call to all the baptized.

Paul Stankiewizz, a parishioner of the cathedral, had his first communion and Confirmation this Easter.
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The Neophyte Mass was arranged by the Office of Worship at the suggestion of the Catechumenate Core Team, a group of lay ecclesial ministers who serve as a diocesan resource to aid in the full implementation of the Christian Initiation process.

The Cathedral Parish hosted a reception after Mass and provided flowers for the neophytes and the newly received.

The event helped highlight that each of us is indeed special as a child of God, and commissioned to bring about God’s Kingdom here and now.

(Anne Marie Fourré is chairperson, Catechumenate Core Team, and director of Faith Formation, St. Joseph Basilica, Alameda.)

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