GUIZERIX: New experiences for a COVID Catholic

Published 4:00 am Wednesday, April 12, 2023

As part of Easter observations this past week, I spent Saturday night at St. Paul Catholic Church, serving as cantor for Easter Vigil.

While I have cantored Mass a handful of times before, Saturday was a completely different ballgame: the blessing of the Easter fire, the Paschal Candle, the candlelit service and the extra pomp and circumstance that comes with welcoming new Catholics into the fold.

As a relatively new Catholic myself (I grew up Methodist and converted three years ago), it was a beautiful ceremony and one for which I was thankful to help lead. However, it didn’t conjure up similar memories of my own confirmation.

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When the COVID-19 pandemic began, I was a little more than a month away from completing the Rites of Catholic Initiation for Adults (RCIA). The world came to a screeching halt, we essentially stopped classes where we stood and Easter came and went without professions of faith being uttered.

It wasn’t until June — Pentecost — when I and fellow communicants were confirmed. The only two people allowed with me were my husband and my sponsor, and each party sat separated and masked. We went through the service on a sunny Saturday afternoon. There was no music, no choir, just a stripped-down ceremony to reach the long-awaited goal: officially becoming Catholic.

I will always cherish that time in my faith journey, as we waited so patiently to join the Church.

But Saturday served as a beautiful reminder of how significant faith can be — should be — for the believer. Beginning in darkness except for a single candlelight and ending after nearly three hours of worship with a joyous song (“Christ the Lord has Risen Today”), I left church that night reinvigorated for Jesus and thankful for spiritual life.

Five new Catholics joined the Church Saturday night — I hope this time next year, they’ll take time to reflect on their faith journey as well. Welcome to the new members at St. Paul and St. Michael. I hope you all had a wonderful Easter.