Decisive appeal of the Catechumens
published on 28/01/2011 in 2011

The Saturday 12 March 2011 at 10:00 and 15:00

Saturday 12 March 2011 at 10:00 and 15:00

In the early days of this lent, the decisive call marks the beginning of the definitive journey towards baptism which will take place for, this year, more than 330 adults during the Easter Vigil in the parishes of Paris. The celebration of the decisive call gathers these catechumens, surrounded by their community leaders, their companions, their sponsors and godparents.

With the entire Church accompanying them, these catechumens form a people marching towards the mystery of Easter and the grace of baptism. At the celebration, each is called by its name, sometimes a new name; each sign of his name the registers of the future baptised, which will be entrusted to the prayer of the Church: these registers are given to the contemplative communities of Paris. Each one receives the purple scarf, which other Christians will also wear during the time of lent, as a sign of their desire for conversion. For the Church, the decisive call is the moment when it expresses the solicitude it brings to the catechumens.

The celebration of the decisive call, on Saturday after the ashes, and the celebration of Sunday "in ALBIS", 2nd Sunday of Easter, are the two moments when all the baptized of Easter, gathered by the Archbishop, can begin to discover their church the Diocese of Paris.

 

 

Intervention of Cardinal André VINGT-TROIS
during the decisive call of the catechumens during Lent 2009

My dear friends, in reading the letters you sent me, I was thinking of the gospel that we were going to hear and meditate together this afternoon. And I often had a vision in superimposition: It seemed to me that each and every one of you was in some way Barthimée, the one who sits at the edge of the path with his infirmity, and who awaits the passage of Jesus.

What you have entrusted to me has made me understand that you too feel that you have long been deprived of a certain light and a certain life, that you have grown up in a family of Christian tradition but without the opportunity to live Sacraments, or that you belong to another religious tradition.
You have become aware of what you lacked, often in the event of unexpected or important events: the death of a loved one, the union of someone close to you, the birth of a child whom you were asked to be the Godfather or godmother. Your heart could also be touched by more discreet or intimate facts and by the radiation and testimony of people who lived around you or were close to you.
By looking at their lives, their way of dealing with existence, taking on the constraints of days and deploying human dignity, you have gradually wondered where this could come from. Your curiosity and concern were appeased by discovering that they were believers, of a particular religion among all, disciples of Jesus the Son of God, members of the church in which they shared in the life of the risen Christ, enlightened and Dynamised by the Holy Spirit received at baptism, and which makes them in turn witnesses to the fidelity of God.

Through these different episodes, that each or every one of you can adjust to his own story, gradually arose the question: Why not me? Why was I kept away from this source of life? Is it too late today? Is baptism reserved for babies or is it possible to receive it at any age?

You know, between the time these questions began to make their way into you and the one where you were able to formulate them and talk to someone, it has been a long time. But one day, you dared, dared to believe or dared to speak, dared to cross the threshold of a church and enter into this building that everyone knows but whose life is not often known, or what it is used for.
For many of you this was an important step, because when you entered this church, you addressed the person who was there: A man, a woman, a priest. Then the dialogue that had begun to the secret of your heart took the form of a conversation with someone you did not know, but which to your surprise, showed up available and open to hear your questions.
Even though he did not always provide an answer, he could tell you a way to find them. From this meeting, you joined a group of Catechumenate, which allowed you to better discover the person of Jesus, what he lived and taught, those who are today his disciples, what they believe, and how they try to live.
You have discovered the church and its sacraments, and all this has gradually transformed your life. For we are not baptized without being converted, one does not become a Christian simply by a change of uniform or title, but because the word of God proposed by the Church changes our lives and that Grace makes us enter into a new life.

With your companions and your companions of the catechumenate, you have discovered that following Christ leads to change something in his way of life, to be with others, to consider love with the man or the woman of your life, passing from a Relationship informs to a sacramental and definitive commitment.
Being a disciple of Christ leads you to put order in your existence, alters your way of working or using the goods of this world, transforms your gaze upon your children and on the future, and on this world that God so loved that he sent his son for the E save.

For each of us this transformation is not completed. Just like you, I still have to order my life, and as the years pass, the delay decreases, while you have more years than me in front of you! Every year, the time of Lent invites us to live the conversion and to put our lives in order.
It is not a matter of conforming them to an order outside them, but of making them ordained and oriented by love, so that the charity of Christ may become as transparent through our way of life, that it makes us capable of loving like him we Like.

Your way into the catechumenate lasted two years, eighteen months, what do I know. The present moment is no longer that of preparation but of the passage to acts. It is no longer simply a matter of crossing the threshold of a church, but of presenting his whole life to God for him to take possession of it. This is what we are experiencing today when I will personally call each of the three hundred and eleven you are. Obviously I will not be able to talk a lot with each and every one of you. The important thing is not the amount of words, but the fact that I am calling you and answering that call. You will enter your name on the book of Life. During the next few Sundays you will live with your Christian communities the ballots that will take you to the Pascale vigil. We will find ourselves here in the cathedral on Sunday after Easter, when you have abandoned the garment of penance and mourning, to wear the garment of new life, joy and resurrection.

As at the edge of the road Barthimée shouted several times: "Jesus son of David have mercy on Me" (Mc 10, 47), you also called to Jesus. And today Jesus says to me: «Call him» (Mc 10, 49). And I say "trust, get up he calls you" (Mc 10, 49). And Jesus says to each of you, "What do you want me to do for you?" "– Rabboni, Make Me See" (MC 10, 51), and Jesus said to him "' Go, thy faith saved thee, ' and immediately he began to see and he followed Jesus on the Road" (MC 10, 52).

For a few moments of silence we pray for each other. That the power of the gospel transforms our lives. May each and every one of you be led by Christ to the full vision of his love and receive the joy of being of his disciples.

† André, Cardinal twenty-three
Archbishop of Paris

 

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Light a candle at Notre-Dame