CHARLESTON—People who were welcomed into the Catholic Church at Easter received a reminder about their faith during the Mass of the Neophytes held May 23 at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist.
In his homily, Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone said when the faithful allow the Holy Spirit to dwell within them, they will be guided to achieve great things.
The Mass is celebrated for Catholics who received the sacraments of baptism, confirmation and/or first Communion at the Easter Vigil celebration. They are now called neophytes.
Bishop Guglielmone told the story of a young mother who brought her 5-year-old son to a concert by a great Polish pianist. Moments before the music started, the boy wandered off unnoticed.
Before the worried mother had a chance to search, the houselights dimmed and the spotlight shone on the piano at center stage. Her son was sitting on the piano bench and started to play “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”
The pianist appeared and the terrified boy stopped playing, but the man told him to continue. As the child resumed, the master accompanied him. The audience responded with thunderous applause.
“What this master did with this little boy, the Holy Spirit does with us,” the bishop said. “With our very limited abilities, the Holy Spirit raises us to a level we can only begin to imagine.”
Bishop Guglielmone told the congregation of a meeting he had with a group of people from other religions, such as Hindu and Buddhism. Many of the participants said that if Catholics were as enthusiastic and vibrant as the fi rst Christians, if they truly believed in the power of the Holy Spirit, and if they lived and acted as the apostles, they would change the world.
“How much power resides in us because of the gifts of the Holy Spirit?” the bishop asked.
He reminded the neophytes that the apostles were fearful, not confi dent. It was the Holy Spirit who infused them with courage, even to the point of death.
“The Holy Spirit gives us all we need to do what Jesus asks us to do,” the bishop said.
The apostles preached, and they were witnesses through their actions and their lives, he said, but we don’t believe we have the power.
As the neophytes advance in their journey of formation, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops advises parishioners to make their newest members feel welcome by encouraging them to be part of an activity, group or ministry.
According to a USCCB national study on the implementation of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults in the United States, newly initiated Catholics’ level of Mass attendance and involvement in parish ministries is much higher than the average.
To bring the power of the kingdom of God in its fullness, Bishop Guglielmone advised the faithful to use the power given to them in the sacraments of baptism and confirmation.
“We are temples of the Holy Spirit, dwelling places of the Holy Spirit,” he said. “Once the Holy Spirit surrounds us, lives in us, we can do wonderful things.”
Douglas Deas contributed to this story.