Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

What I Have Seen and Heard (May 7, 2009)

Published May 7, 2009

The neophytes—the new lights—who came into the Church during the Easter celebration will be gathering for a special Mass this coming Saturday morning at the Korean Martyrs Church on Buford Highway. These new lights are such blessings for this local Church and all of the parishes that they represent.

During this time of year, I often encounter one of our new Catholics at the parishes that I visit. They proudly introduce themselves, or they are presented to me as one of our newest members. They just beam with pride at that title, and I hope that all the parishioners who welcome them do so with a warm word of congratulations.

These fine people represent in their backgrounds a vast diversity. Some of them have come to the Church from other Christian or faith traditions, some have had very little religious personal history, some of them have been married to a Catholic for a long time and others are anticipating marrying a Catholic in the near future. They all are proud of having become Catholic. It is this sense of pride that is perhaps the most charming quality about the neophytes. They are very pleased to join this family of Faith. They remind us of the gift that our Catholic Faith is for them and for us as well.

Occasionally we all need to be reminded that Catholicism is a gift that we enjoy from God Himself. All too often we may spend too much time thinking about the challenges that we face as Catholics—real challenges to be sure, but we are also blessed to belong to the Church that Christ Himself established and entrusted to ordinary people like us. The Scripture readings from the Acts of the Apostles that so fill this time of year clearly reveal to us that the early Church also had great heroes and heroines and scoundrels as well.

We should be proud to follow the same legacy of Faith that we read about in those Easter stories of Faith. The newest Catholics are an important reminder that God is still at work within His Church bringing forth life and hope for each generation.

These neophytes—our newest lights—will come together to offer a Mass of Thanksgiving for the gift of their Catholic Faith this Saturday. Maybe some of those of us who are older lights will be re-energized just by joining them for the event.