Tag Archives: RCIA

Easter Weekend Wrap

This was a banner weekend for the Bryant family, culminating in Parker’s first Easter.

On Friday, my wife drove Parker to meet his grandma to spend the weekend in Paulding, so that he could partake in Easter egg coloring and other ‘festivities’ with his 8 cousins.

On Saturday, I ran a few errands around town, most importantly picking up a gift for my sponsor at church from a Catholic gift store nearby (it only took me forever to actually find a gift store that catered to Catholics).

Easter Vigil Mass was beautiful. The three catechumen in my class were baptized first, followed by the confirmation of the 15 of us that had already been baptized in other Christian faiths. At the appointed time, I professed my faith, went up to the center of the church, was presented to the priest (using Arnold, my confirmation name), and marked with chrism. Before Eucharist, and after all my class had been confirmed, our priest presented us to the congregation, calling us, “the newest batch of Catholics.” It was a moment that I know meant a lot to me, my family, my sponsor, and, I’m sure, my classmates. We’ve been attending class diligently since September.

In a way, RCIA creates a sense of longing, and with the culmination of Easter Vigil, the longing is finally fulfilled. On the way back from Paulding yesterday, I looked at my wife and said, “I’m really glad to be Catholic.” And I meant that.

After Easter Vigil Mass had ended, we went downstairs for our reception (of course, in Catholic tradition, with plenty of beer and wine). Each of us was individually recognized and presented with our gift from the Church, a ‘Catholic’ Bible (aka, the New American Bible). From my sponsor, I received a plaque to display in our new house. I gave him a small statuette of his favorite saint, Francis of Assisi.

On Sunday, we got up early to head to Paulding to attend Easter Mass with our family (and specifically, Parker).  It was nice actually being able to take part a little more ‘regularly’ in Eucharist (at Easter Vigil Mass, it was more, “God, please don’t let me look like a buffoon”). My brother-in-law also became Catholic this weekend, so after church, we had a combined Easter/welcome-to-the-faith celebration. I received some more Catholic gifts and Parker got his Easter presents.

All in all, it was a really great weekend, and it’s definitely nice to have Parker back. Hopefully this week we’ll hear back on at least the appraisal on the house, if not the loan itself. Have a great week!

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Holy Week

It is finally here, Holy Week, beginning yesterday with Palm Sunday and culminating in Easter Vigil service Saturday night, and my confirmation into the Catholic faith.

I attended a half-day retreat on Saturday morning, which ended with our First Reconciliation. To be perfectly honest, after having taken a polygraph for an internship a couple years ago, First Reconcilation is nothing.

It’s been a long process, one that started back in September. But it’s a journey I’m proud to have been on. I look very forward to becoming Catholic Saturday night, to join my wife and son in their faith.

I’m coming into the Catholic Church during another time of turbulence. This time, about Pope Benedict’s role in the possible coverup of priest-sexual abuse. I, in absolutely no way, think that the Pope and the priests involved in this scandal should be able to skirt away from the issue, and I believe that the Pope is accountable to his people. And unfortunately, for many outsiders looking in at the Catholic Church, its followers are sometimes given a bad rap by its leaders. I know that the great majority of both parishioners and priests are appalled by what has happened in the Church as of late and are looking to our leaders for answers.

People have questioned why I’m joining the faith. And really, it’s because of the people I’ve met. The parishioners at my church, the clergy, everyone, is so incredibly nice and genuine. I recently went through the Rite of Election for my diocese just a few weeks ago. There were over 500 people coming into the faith in the Columbus diocese alone. When asked how or why we were joining the faith, 3 people said it was because of things they had read or seen, 2 people said it was because they attended a Catholic service and enjoyed it, and the rest were joining because of someone they knew that was Catholic. In fact, everyone in my RCIA class, some 20 of us, are all joining the faith because we have a Catholic significant other.

But all in all, I’m excited about what this weekend will bring. I thank everyone who supported me during this process, my family, my friends, my local parish, and especially my sponsor, Jack. It’s definitely going to be a change, but one I look very forward to.

Sainthood

Stepping away from parenting for a second, I want to speak a bit on a step in my looming Catholicism.

As part of the confirmation process, the candidates for confirmation are instructed to pick a ‘saint name’, or essentially a personal saint to use through and after confirmation. The process can be arduous, as there are over 10,000 saints in the Catholic Church.

In my search, I wanted to find an ‘atypical’ saint. One who may not be known for his or her martyrdom like Thomas More or even their significant contributions to Catholic theology like Thomas Aquinas. I wanted a saint that embodied living life to the fullest through God. A saint that ‘went out with a bang’. An outgoing saint, perhaps.

And then I stumbled upon Saint Arnold (or also known as St. Arnulf of Metz). Arnold was born in Austria in 580 A.D. He entered the priesthood and was eventually named Bishop of Metz (France) at age 32.

One of Arnold’s most significant contributions was in public health. He warned his congregation and villagers about the dangers of drinking water (which, at that time, was often very contaminated from waste, sewage, and disease). Instead, he offered his congregation a different beverage. One that would go through the process of filtering and boiling, expelling germs in the process.

Beer.

Saint Arnold during his time as bishop was even quoted with saying, “…from man’s sweat and God’s love, beer came into the world.”

Arnold retired to a monastery in France and died in 640. To be considered for sainthood, a miracle must have been performed by the prospective saint, and here is where Saint Arnold’s story gets good.

In 641, the people of Metz asked the monastery for the body of Arnold, their bishop to bring back to Metz to bury. While carrying Arnold from the monastery to Metz, the people stopped in the town of Champignuelles. For a rest and a beverage, the porters and followers stopped in the local tavern to order their beer, in honor of Arnold. They were dismayed to learn that the tavern only had one mug of beer available to share.

But as Jesus fed the 5,000, so Arnold filled that mug for his followers, and it did not run dry until the followers were satisfied. For his service to the people of Metz and the miracle at Champignuelles, Arnold was canonized as a saint in the Catholic Church and is today recognized as the patron saint of brewers.

Since then, ‘Saint Arnold’ has become the name of several breweries around the world. And I can’t think of a saint that more embodies the outgoing nature of living life to fullest than Arnold.

This beer? This beer is for you, Saint Arnold.