For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. ---Ephesians 6:12

"The age of casual Catholicism is over; the age of heroic Catholicism has begun. We can no longer be Catholics by accident, but instead must be Catholics by CONVICTION." ---Fr. Terrence Henry TOR, Franciscan University of Steubenville

Friday, June 5, 2009

At Long Last!...Confirmation At Pentecost!

At the original Pentecost, the one mentioned in The Acts of the Apostles, the Holy Spirit descended to those apostles in tongues of fire which rested upon each one of them. As a result of this, each apostle spoke a different tongue so that he could go abroad and confess boldly the name of Christ. Then the apostle Peter explained it all to those around him, and as a result of this 3,000 were converted to Christianity that day. All who believed in Christ were together and had all things in common...

At my own Pentecostal Confirmation this past Sunday at St. Patricks Cathedral in Harrisburg, PA, a successor of the Apostles, The Most Reverend Kevin C. Rhoades, Ninth Bishop of Harrisburg, and five priests dressed in red robes celebrated both the birthday of the Catholic Church and the Sacrament of Confirmation for myself and several others in the Harrisburg Diocese. When my forehead was anointed with Chrism oil and I confessed with my mouth in agreement (Amen!) with Bishop Rhoades that I was now sealed in the Holy Spirit, I felt such joy, elation, and peace I could hardly contain myself. Without ruining the solemnity of the occasion (I hope), I gave a mini-high-five to my RCIA leader on my way back to my seat. Then I got on my knees and washed the incense out of my eyes with tears of joy, for what should have been done at age 13 and was finally done at 45. Better late than never... I have posted on my journey at length HERE and HERE.

When Communion time came minutes later I stood and nodded to my mother, who had taken the train in from Chicago, now sitting several rows back and observing me for the first time taking Holy Communion. To this day I cannot explain why I had refused it back when I was 7 years old, much to her anger and chagrin. But she nodded back to me this time and smiled wryly, knowing I had already taken my first at Easter Vigil earlier this year. My long-time friend and college roommate, Kevin Gleeson, who also helped me out late last year with this blog, stood with me as my Confirmation Sponsor, with his right hand on my shoulder as I was anointed with Chrism and named Augustine.

After Mass, the Bishop, a man of the people, stood for a good 45 minutes to an hour shaking hands and posing for pictures for anyone who wanted them. For me he blessed my Confirmation Rosaries and stood patiently for SEVERAL pictures. Leaving the Bishop at the Cathedral, we walked to Molly Brannigans for good Irish eats and great Guinness on tap where I sat glowing among the seven friends and relatives who traveled from as far as Oklahoma to join the celebration. At the end of the day we took dessert at Rita's for their great gelati and Italian Ice. It was an exceptionally good day, to say the least.

Here are the rest of the pics from that day. As usual, please feel free to click on the image to make it much larger:


Paul said...

Congratulations, Matt! I wish I could have been there to witness this wonderful day, but rest assured that you remain in my prayers. A remarkable journey, indeed. God bless you.

Kevin Gleeson said...

I find a couple things hard to believe about that day, but they've sunk in to the point I fully accept them as true. First, that you finally made it Home to Rome - all the way, every step. Second, that I really am that fat. (The camera don't lie, as that pop song goes.)

This event was the crown jewel of an all-wonderful trip. Welcome home, Matt.