Initiation to the sacraments of Christian life (baptism, Eucharist, confirmation) pour adults is a grace to receive which was given to our pastoral unit this year, calling on my skills as adult catechist.
It is a call addressed to adults but awakens the whole community. I was touched by meeting these adults who, by the Church, heard the call of Jesus in their heart to follow him as disciples.
Three young women, one of whom was stateless drawing us into the new world of refugees; to the society she is a non-person but, to us, she is someone and is unique. The second, due to her difficult life situations was a challenge; she tested our patience and our availability to the extreme – unemployed, without stable income, with family issues.
For the two of us, Françoise and me, this brought about a total revision of our life: intellectual, affective, social and spiritual.
For each of the three, this call and its response brought about human, spiritual, social and ecclesial growth. By their repeated yeses, despite all obstacles: attitudes of other regarding their conversion: that of their own families, of society, of employers and work colleagues, of social services, in the midst of the reality of ‘it is what it is,’ God took first place in their life. Each discovers who she is in the context of her own story, loved by a God of tenderness and mercy who reveals Himself to her as a God of Love.
The prescribed process is launched. The Holy Spirit is active in their heart and in mine and in that of the whole Christian community. The witnessing of a welcoming, generous, praying community where the presence of God is lived with simplicity is a confirmation that a Christian cannot live their commitment in isolation.
With the Word of God at the core of each meeting (enlightened by Father Parent’s writings) I teach them how to develop unity in their life – to identify inner stirrings, changes, what is yet to arise. I apply all pedagogical means to allow a new birth to take place and life be renewed. To accompany, support and lead to a profound and enthusiastic conversion evolving in reciprocity requires simple language, deep listening, critical analysis and a climate of prayer and interiority.
A few lessons from this experience
- Accompaniment by 2 people: Françoise I completed each other; together, bringing credibility to the welcome and to the creating of relationship and in the diversity of life experiences shared.
- The passing on of faith abolishes prejudices and transcends age and culture.
- Entering into the depth of ecclesial reality brings to life the full meaning of Church-communion which is built on the complement of ministries and services (deacons, priests, religious communities, secular institutes as well as the laity).
- When the periphery comes to us, especially those we haven’t chosen, a systematic review of mentality takes place: our way of thinking and of living, but the best experience is that of becoming clearly aware that our vocation as members of a secular institute and as oblates is the perfect fit to the cries of humanity and the needs of the Church today.
In the footsteps of many Oblates before me, let us dare to believe in the Good News of peace and joy that we can bring.
Left, deacon, Christian, center, Irene, right, Father Thierry, pastor of the pastoral unit.