RCIA 2020: Candidates patiently called to become one in the faith

03 Sep 2020

By Matthew Lau

Auxiliary Bishop Donald Sproxton and St Mary’s Cathedral Dean Father Sean Fernandez smile to have their photograph taken with this year’s RCIA candidates and their sponsors. Photo: Ron Tan.

By Matthew Lau

This year’s Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) candidates, who were set to be received into the Catholic Church at Easter, have been rewarded for their patience after the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the process by more than four months.

Eight RCIA candidates received the Sacrament of Confirmation, including six who were baptised, during Vigil Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral on Saturday 29 August.

Bishop Sproxton initiates a candidate into the Catholic faith by pouring holy water over his head on 29 August. Photo: Ron Tan.

Perth Auxiliary Bishop Donald Sproxton celebrated the Mass alongside Cathedral Dean Fr Sean Fernandez, in addition to Assistant Priests Fr Richard Rutkauskas, Fr Conor Steadman, and Fr Garner Vergara.

Bishop Sproxton spoke in his homily of the intriguing mystery of God, particularly during times of upheaval.

“A thirst arises within us to know and love God more because we know that God alone is the way to truth. Jeremiah has said that he was seduced by God and he allowed himself to be seduced, so powerful was the attraction,” Bishop Sproxton began.

Bishop Sproxton initiates a candidate into the Catholic faith by pouring holy water over her head on 29 August. Photo: Ron Tan.

“Being attracted and surrendering to God leads us to a stripping of self and the renouncing of everything that can disturb or destroy our relationship with God. The washing with Baptism sets us on the way of the Christian life: renouncing all that can destroy us and our relationship with God and others; taking up the cross like Jesus day by day and following him.

“This will be how we will align ourselves to the Will of God and know his ways. We will learn how to pray and discern the Will of God for us.”

An RCIA candidate receives Holy Communion during Vigil Mass held at St Mary’s Cathedral on 29 August 2020. Photo: Ron Tan.

Bishop Sproxton went on to explain how a conversion to God means having “a new regard to humanity”, with the aid of the Holy Spirit enabling us to “see the world and humanity with new vision”.

“It will be possible for us to see the people in our lives as brothers and sisters in faith or as each created in the image and likeness of God, precious in his eyes. Saint Paul would have said that we have a renewal of judgement, which means being transformed in heart so that we put aside prejudice for understanding.

“It has been said that when we turn to God and follow Christ, there are a hundred people who take notice and look to us. Becoming a Christian in the world, our conduct represents a response to divine love we have experienced in our own lives.”

An RCIA candidate is congratulated by Bishop Sproxton during Vigil Mass held at St Mary’s Cathedral on 29 August 2020. Photo: Ron Tan.

The mercy and love of God, he added, is behind the call to be part of the Church and a new way of life.

“In the access to the great streams of grace in the Sacraments, we will be changed and learn each day to be the spirit of mercy and love to those with whom we live.

Bishop Donald Sproxton bestows a blessing upon the RCIA candidates and their sponsors during Vigil Mass on Saturday 29 August. Photo: Ron Tan.

“You are surrounded by your brothers and sisters in the faith this evening. You fill us with joy as we accompany you to the font of Baptism. We will pray for you so that your faith will grow strong. We welcome you into this community,” Bishop Sproxton continued.

“May your faith maintain your courage to belong to the Catholic Church. And may you remain strong when confronted by the enticements of money and power, so that you will find the courage to stand for deeper and more spiritual values.”