A big THANK YOU to all who helped us celebrate the Feast of St. Francis so well last Sunday. Fr. Jairo and I are very grateful for your kind words of greeting, cards, emails, and gifts during the BlessFest on Sunday, especially from the parish children.

October is Respect Life month in the Catholic Church in the U.S. Over the course of several weeks, you will be able to learn more about the wide range of life issues we officially embrace as Catholics.

In September, we focused on creation at Pope Francis’ request. Last weekend, the focus was on the protection of the unborn. This week we will focus on end-of-life issues and the death penalty. Please read the articles in the bulletin throughout October to learn more about what we officially teach about life.

This month is Confirmation month at St. Francis. We will have four Confirmation Masses due to COVID-19 safety protocols. Bishop Zarama will celebrate only two of them due to his very full schedule which he did on October 3. Some have understandably asked why Fr. Jairo and I will be the ministers of Confirmation at the other two Masses. To help you understand why and how this can happen for those baptized as Catholics, I note the following:

The Bishop as Ordinary Minister of Confirmation for Baptized Catholics and Times of Delegation:

1. The bishop is the pastor of the diocese. Where the bishop is present, Christ is present par excellence because of his connection to Christ through apostolic succession and his ordination as bishop. Historically in the Roman Rite of Catholicism, the bishop has been tied to Confirmation as the apostles are tied to Pentecost. While not the only recipient of the Pentecostal presence of the Holy Spirit, the bishop nonetheless has a special relationship with the Holy Spirit through the apostolic bond he has received in his episcopal ordination. This is one reason he is the ordinary minister of Confirmation for baptized Catholics.

 

2. Because there are thousands of Catholics to be confirmed each year in the diocese and because sometimes the bishop is unable to confirm each of them personally due to a variety of circumstances, he shares his ministry with priests who are delegated to act in his name in his absence or to help him when there are a large number of candidates.
While this is true of every priest, it is especially true of pastors. When circumstances warrant, a bishop will grant the faculty to a priest to confirm in the name of Christ and His Church, as a sign of his pastoral concern for the people he serves. This is the case this year at St. Francis of Assisi in a COVID-19 world.

3. With the renewal of the catechumenate (RCIA) after Vatican II, non-Catholic adults and children of catechetical age are always confirmed during the liturgy in which they are baptized or received into Full Communion with the Catholic Church. Because this involves hundreds of thousands of people throughout the world each year, the universal law of the Roman Catholic Church permits pastors to confirm automatically in these situations.

 

Msgr. Clay

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