Word from the Pastor
2nd Sunday of Lent - March 12, 2017
History in the Making at St. Martha.
For the first time in the history of Saint Martha, I am proud to announce that eight child catechumens in union with three adults will be fully initiated at the Easter Vigil to be held the evening of Saturday, April 15th. To be fully initiated means to receive the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist simultaneously. Dennys Cabrera, Coordinator of Religious Education, at my request has introduced the program alongside traditional CCD as a response to Archbishop Wenski's call to integrate a child catechumente. The Catechumenate, commonly known as the Rite Of Christian Initiation of Adults or RCIA, is the process in which the unbaptized seek Jesus Christ as their Saviour since a fire has been lit in their hearts and so by seeking instruction and attending the RCIA sessions they journey towards conversion and transformation. We celebrate their journey though the rites. Notably, the Rite of Acceptance into the Catechumenate, the Rite of Sending, the Rite of Election, the Scrutinies, and finally the Rites of Initiation. This process is actually an ancient one beginning at the time of the apostles and formalizing around the 5th century before disappearing completely. It was not until the Second Vatican Council of the early 60's that the Catechumenate was restored and given its present form. It has taken many decades since the Council for parishes to introduce this process due to a lack of understanding of its history and theology. Most adults only know of the traditional manner of initiation: a child is baptized while in infancy, at around the age of eight, a child receives Holy Communion, and later as a teenager, the youngster is Confirmed. It is common that parents are puzzled when introducing an unbaptized child older than seven to the RCIA. For our parish, it will take several years after the introduction of the children's RCIA for parents to adjust to the ancient understanding. The Catechumenate team consists of Dennys Cabrera, Sr. Yamile Saieh, Sr. Carmen Cabrejo, Dr. Suad Mansour, Annette Decius, and myself as Pastor. The team works hard preparing the candidates and catechumens.
We congratulate our children to be initiated this year, Amaya Brunet, Marlon Bustillo, Francisco Chaves, Angelina Escobar, Julian Leon, Mya Matamoros, Melanie Sabillon, Melissa Sabillon, and Noah Zarlenga. As well as our three adults Herbert Andiades, Dr. Sam-Mosley Ayuk, and Robert Morales. They are pictured above at the Cathedral of St. Mary having been deemed now the "Elect" at the Rite of Election by Archbishop Wenski who officiated the ceremony. By being called the Elect, they have been found worthy to receive the Sacraments. As a parish community that we are, we are called to support them with our prayers. Their names are inscribed in the Book of the Elect found near the baptistery of the church and the book will remain there until the close of the Lenten season. Adults and children older than seven years who are not baptized can always inquire as to when to start the journey by visiting our Information Table on Sundays or calling Dennys Cabrera at the parish office. The Catechumenate is open not only to the unbaptized but also to those already baptized but needing Confirmation and Eucharist .
Fr. Wilfredo Contreras