A year like no other… How many times have we explained or complained with that mantra during our COVID-19 pandemic. For many months, almost no one set foot in The Basilica or indeed on the campus. So many things have been so very different from the hospitality this community prayerfully endeavored to live out since March of 2020. With all this change though, some things, in their essence, stayed the same. The little things changed of course and at the time, many seemed big rather than little. The big things though, they found a way; and with or without open doors in the beautiful Basilica building, lived on, the important work carried on.
As just one example, we still welcomed people into The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. We still invited each person to have a sponsor to walk with them albeit virtually, during the year. The community still prayed for each person, still welcomed and elected them through Rites we have celebrated for a very long time. And on Holy Saturday, several of them were Baptized, Confirmed, and received their First Eucharist. At the Solemnity of Pentecost, many Candidates will be Confirmed and receive their First Eucharist.
Following, is what many of the Candidates had to say about RCIA during the pandemic.
What has changed in your life?
“My attitude has changed, I’ve experienced a conversion of heart. I recognize a big change in myself and my relationship with God.”
“My relationship with God has changed, I have grown closer to Him. I’m excited about a lifelong spiritual journey with Christ.”
“I feel the RCIA experience has opened up my mind and heart to the mystery of faith and the beauty of the Catholic Church. The Sacraments have become more meaningful, the liturgical calendar has become meaningful. I accept more on faith.”
“I have gained a greater appreciation for the Catholic Eucharist as a thanksgiving to God. I have found the services to be deeply spiritual and meaningful.”
“Praying has become a habit and has become more meaningful.”
In what ways have you experienced conversion?
“I have become more aware of the messaging and awareness of miracles and the possibility of miracles.”
“Many of Johan’s lectures helped me see things with new eyes and renewed heart.”
“I feel my heart and soul have been transformed. I feel calm, settled and at peace, yet excited for the future in my faith life and how I can get involved and make a difference.”
Certainly, as with all our ministries and most everyone’s lives, there were challenges and disappointments. We streamed the Sunday Liturgies, we Zoomed our sessions and retreats. It was challenging for new seekers, to really feel a part of this great community. However, offering no disappointment, the Holy Spirit was present and powerful. We have many newly initiated members of The Basilica, ready to live a life of discipleship, hopefully very soon, on our campus.