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Cathedral welcomes new Catholics

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Wearing white baptismal robes, catechumens are presented to Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP. PHOTO: Patrick J Lee

Newcomers to the Church inspire with their determination

These five Sydneysiders proudly number among Australia’s newest Catholics thanks to the work of the Holy Spirit and the people who have helped them along their faith journeys.

The coronavirus pandemic delayed their reception of sacraments at St Mary’s Cathedral but on Pentecost Sunday Finsen Alexander, Merry Cen, Eve Smith and Sida Zhao were finally welcomed for baptism, confirmation and first communion by Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP with “great joy”.

So too was Bonny Chen, who had been baptised but was received into full communion with the Church.

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Traditionally, catechumens who are not baptised at the Easter Vigil but are ready for baptism were baptised on Pentecost. Archbishop Fisher said that due to the COVIDSafe shutdown which began during Lent in March “all the catechumens around Australia have had an extra-long wait to receive the great graces of Holy Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Communion”.

This weekend on Trinity Sunday Sandy Li, Megna Roopa and Jared Beneru will also be received into the church at St Mary’s.

Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP keeps his distance while initiating catechumens into the Church. PHOTO: Patrick J Lee

In his homily for the Mass livestreamed from the cathedral the archbishop pointed out that the same Holy Spirit that was breathed out on the apostles by Jesus after “by-passing the barriers of isolation and distancing” was entering “into the hearts of our catechumens, who’ve been preparing to receive Him in Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Communion”.

The “explosion of grace” at the first Pentecost changed people forever, he said. “Frightened fishermen cowering in the cenacle became fearless evangelists who gave the testimony of their lives.

“They might have looked the same and kept the same day job. But inside they were different people after that, and so was the world once their Church burst upon the scene.

“The story of Pentecost is a story of the power of the spiritual”

“The story of Pentecost is a story of the power of the spiritual, the importance of the feelings, relationships and religious dimensions of the human person and the universe.”

The cathedral’s Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults chaplain Fr Lewi Barakat said it had “been wonderful to see people from different walks of life respond to the call of Christ”.

“They’re just some of the many catechumens in parishes who see that the world can’t offer them the fulfilment their heart desires, and come to the Church with real questions seeking the truth and experiencing the peace that comes with that.

“Their desire and commitment to follow him inspires us as priests and our whole RCIA team here at the cathedral.”

Fr Barakat paid tribute to RCIA coordinator Paula Flynn and her highly committed team which had been accompanying the catechumens and candidate over the last six to 12 months.

For information on entering the Catholic Church in Sydney contact the local parish, or email [email protected] or call 9307 8477.

Related articles:

The Faith Formation Lacuna: Missionary Disciples and the RCIA
Setting the world on fire: life in the Holy Spirit
Mark Shea: John’s second best baptism, or how the Holy Spirit changed everything
Seven gifts of the Holy Spirit

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