Individuals across the Diocese of Davenport, throughout the United States and around the world were initiated into the Roman Catholic Church during Easter Vigil Masses on April 3.
Some, like Huy Nguyen of Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport, received all three sacraments of initiation — baptism, first Communion and confirmation. Others who’d been baptized earlier in their lives received the sacraments of Communion and confirmation. And still others who’d been baptized and made their first Communion celebrated the final sacrament of initiation, confirmation.
For all, including cradle Catholics, the Easter season marks a new beginning in the journey of faith.
“… (T)he old life is left behind, and a new life can begin,” Pope Benedict XVI said in his Easter Address, citing Romans 6:4. He described Christ’s resurrection as “a new creation, like a graft that can regenerate the whole plant.”
In his Easter Vigil homily at Sacred Heart Cathedral, Bishop Martin Amos focused on the twin themes of conversion and transformation.
He shared how he’d watched two versions of “Extreme Makeover” on TV a couple of times — one transforms houses and the other transforms people.
But “Baptism is the ultimate makeover,” Bishop Amos said. “Through God’s mercy we are transformed; we are adopted by the Father and actually share in the divine life. Because of God’s mercy, he gives us his only Son not that we be condemned, but that we be saved. Through God’s mercy, we have the gift of the Holy Spirit to continue the ultimate makeover of ourselves and our community.”
Bishop Amos observed that the Easter proclamation is filled with images of that ultimate makeover: we are ransomed with Christ’s blood; the homes of believers are consecrated; the sin of darkness is destroyed; we are freed from defilement and restored to grace. We grow together in holiness. Christ broke the chains of death and comes as our Redeemer.
“The power of this holy night dispels all evil, washes guilt away, restores lost innocence, brings mourners joy and brings us peace,” the bishop continued.
“We are people of light, a people of life, refreshed by Easter water, enlightened by our paschal candle. We know that Christ lives among us and within us.”