Monday, November 21, 2011

Rite of Acceptance/ Welcome (After)

A little over 12 hours ago now, we entered the church in precession behind the priest. The Rite began with our RCIA director calling out the names of the catechumens first. Each lined up facing the congregation & their sponsors stood behind them. Then it was time for the candidates. Mine was the last name called. My sponsor, like all the others, walked up with me, stood behind me & put her hands on my shoulders for support. Distinct rays of sunlight streamed through the windows & spotlighted the group. It felt surreal, like a dream. The priest explained who we were & why we were standing there & then asked us what we asked of the church. We responded in unison, first the catechumens & then candidates. We sought "the fullness of faith in the Church". The priest then turned to the congregation & asked them if they were willing to pray for us & help us on our journey. Of course the answer was "Yes". I looked out on a sea of smiling faces. I knew I was not alone. The priest invited them to stretch out their hands to pray for us. Following prayer, he took the anointing oil & went first to the catechumens, anointing each one on the forehead & hands. He proceeded to the candidates, anointing each one in kind. After a prayer of blessing, he dismissed us back to our seats. I was very nervous & honestly, the day was mostly a blur to me. I was so focused on what I had just done that I had a difficult time following the remainder of the Mass... I felt like just behing silent, like crying, like I was in shock. I had been so ready to bail, to make some excuse, to sleep in accidentally... I really struggled with my faith & intentions in the hours leading up to the Rite. But I knew I had to do this despite the fear I felt. I'm so glad I did.

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