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Sacrament Season

May 25th, 2012by Mary Anne Bressler

This past Sunday, May 20, marked the end of what I refer to as Sacrament Season. Generally this is the period from Easter until whenever we have Confirmation, usually in May. Ordinarily it comprises most of the Easter season. Within the span of six weeks or so, a large number of children in the parish are baptized, confirmed or welcomed to the Table of Eucharist. It’s an extraordinarily busy month and a half, full of highs and lows. The lows are usually related to paperwork issues that tax my proof-reading abilities. The highs are much greater because they are related to the beauty of participating in the Sacraments of the Church.

Despite the crazy busy-ness of this time of year, it is a truly joyful time. The celebration of Eucharist with 2nd grade and Confirmation with 7th grade is the culmination of months of preparation, and so it bears a peculiar combination of joy and heartfelt relief. There is always an element of suspense when working with 60 or more children or adolescents. Not to mention the myriad of details that require the support of parents. There are banners to be made, practices to attend, pews to be assigned. Sometimes we get so mired in the details that we can forget the important part of the event. Just like in the story of the Grinch and Christmas, we can get distracted by the extraneous elements of the sacraments and forget what they are really all about. It’s not the dresses or the banners or the parties. It’s about the Lord. Confirmation isn’t about counting service hours or choosing a new name (and I will not even start my sermon on the appropriateness of using your baptismal name) or, again, the dresses. It’s about the Lord.

As I sat in church for three Masses and watched the children walking up to receive the Body and Blood of Christ, I prayed what I always pray: that they will always receive Jesus with the same level of joy and excitement that they did the first time. When I am at Confirmation, I  pray that the young people anointed by Archbishop Schnurr will be truly open to the presence of the Spirit in their lives and that they will give their all to God.   And I thank God that I am privileged to share these special moments with children every year, because it helps me to remember those things for myself.

Photo credit: M. Bressler
Used with Permission
Mary Anne Bressler

Mary Anne Bressler is a parishioner and Pastoral Associate at St. Anthony Church in Madisonville and an adjunct faculty member at Xavier University.