Friday, August 23, 2013

Workings of the Spirit - baptisms galore

Thursday I went to El Zapote de Santa Rosa to do a workshop with catechists and others.

This was a follow up of a workshop two months ago to train catechists and others in the preparation of parents and god-parents for the baptism of infants and children under seven.

We were also going to begin to work on the materials for the catechumenate, the process leading up to baptism for those 14 years old and up.

I first asked them about their experience with the materials and the process.

I was overwhelmed to hear how well the process and the materials had been received. One person noted that the materials were in a language that they could understand, without a lot of fancy words. (The only word he had trouble with was “exorcism.”)

Others mentioned how this had awakened faith in some of the parents. Some of those who were not married were asking about getting married. Some who had not been active in the church have begun to come to Sunday celebrations. Some have decided to make changes in their lives – including giving up smoking marijuana.

And in the nine villages represented in the meeting there are 251 children and infants ready for baptism. In two of the villages there are more than 50. Padre German will have a tired arm after pouring so much water!

But this is only a beginning. Some communities are planning a second series of pre-baptismal sessions.

I have three more training sessions in the next two weeks. It will be interesting to compare the experience in the other parts of the parish.

The second part of the meeting was explaining the catechumenate and going over the materials for the first part of the process. There aren’t many who will begin this process, though there could be as many as 25 in the nine villages.

The Rite of acceptance is planned for the first Sunday of December, but the materials for the weeks leading up to this have been prepared.

People are also asking for materials for what they are calling the pre-catechumenate – or what I’d prefer to call the catechumenate of children – for children between 7 and 14 who have not been baptized. We have an outline and I’m working on some parts, but I doubt I’ll have much down until December.

And so we have our work to do.

The Catechumenate refers to the process – including religious instruction, retreats, and liturgical rites – leading up to baptism and the reception of the other sacraments of initiation for non-baptized persons, usually adults or older children.

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