By Fr. Guillermo Trevino
Almost two years ago, I was ordained a priest. After seven years of seminary, I was finished with my study and training! Actually, I was just getting started. During my first few weeks as a priest I was learning to not just read the Mass but pray the Mass. I was learning how to administer the sacraments, learning the west end streets of Davenport and growing in confidence and preaching. To be honest, I’m still learning, and I thank my parishioners at St. Alphonsus-Davenport, St. Mary-Davenport and St. Peter-Buffalo for putting up with me.
To those who just entered the church, I congratulate you. Thousands were welcomed at the Easter Vigil around the country. There’s a feeling of “now what?” Many parishes offer “mystagogy” (liturgical catechesis) during the seven weeks of Easter that lead to Pentecost to help new Catholics fully integrate into the church. The readings and homilies at Mass teach us how to live the faith. The catechesis helps deepen an understanding of the liturgy, the mystery of faith, and the sacraments and the sacramentals. I can relate, in a sense, with the learning that is just getting started.
As Catholics, we are called to support and encourage these new members. At the end of the Easter Vigil at St. Mary’s, I asked the parishioners not to leave without congratulating our newest members. There was a genuine joy in the parish. The choir went all out for the liturgy and even sang the Litany of the Saints. Let us continue to support the newest members of the church and make them feel fully integrated into the parish by explaining what the parish has to offer.
This question is asked of each new member: “How can I help my parish?” Do I enjoy greeting people, reading or maybe helping teach religious education? Maybe I like to do maintenance, make crafts, clean the linens, sing at Mass and/or help in a way that is truly unique to me. That is the major call of each and every one of us.
At the end of Mass, the final prayer is a dismissal, using one of these phrases: “Go in peace.” “Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.” “Go forth, the Mass has ended.” “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.” Each of the final prayers calls us to do much more. Mystagogy is a lifelong process, so I ask you to be patient with yourself and the process. All of us are still growing and called to share the faith.
(Fr. Guillermo Trevino serves at St. Alphonsus and St. Mary parishes in Davenport and St. Peter Parish in Buffalo.)