Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Power of the Holy Spirit-in the hand of the Bishop

Photo: R. Massaro (c)2017 Spirit Singing-St. Joseph Church Dover, Ohio

Many parishes during this time of year are celebrating the sacrament of Confirmation.  A lot of preparation takes place before the event. The children and adults, the confirmandi, as they are referred to, must be given instruction before they stand before the bishop ready to be empowered by the Holy Spirit.

I was confirmed in 1969. The way the sacrament is conferred has changed since I was a young girl. I was confirmed at the age of 12, now teens are a little older when they are confirmed. Today, the candidates stand before the bishop as he or she is confirmed. On October 16, 1969, I knelt before Bishop Clarence Elwell to be confirmed. I also remember being told that as the bishop confirmed me he would slap me on the cheek!  As children, we were petrified about this part of the ceremony. We wondered, will the bishop actually hit us? Will it hurt? We didn't know what to expect, only to brace ourselves for the blow!

I remember walking up the aisle of the church, in a long procession of candidates to be confirmed. At the time, it seemed like two miles until I would reach the altar. I was in procession, behind my uncle, an adult convert, who was beaming with joy, ready to be confirmed.

My mother had helped me with trying to choose a saint for my confirmation name. She told me stories about the saints, which I found fascinating. I remember the agony I went through in trying to decide between St. Bernadette and St. Margaret Mary. I finally decided on St. Bernadette, but as Divine Providence would have it, I was confirmed on the feast of St. Margaret Mary. 

Continuing with my memory of approaching the bishop...I remember kneeling before the bishop and announcing my confirmation name of Bernadette, he anointed me and gently patted my cheek. All that worry over nothing! The power of the the Holy Spirit, through the hand of the bishop, was imparted gently and tenderly with a soft pat on the cheek. 

Let us pray that the Holy Spirit continue to work in our lives. Let us pray that He imparts all of his gifts on us. Gifts that are needed to live with Him in the company of all the angels and saints forever. 

I'll be re-posting a series on the Holy Spirit I wrote a few years ago. These meditations about the gifts of the Holy Spirit are in light of Carmelite spirituality. I hope you are blessed by these posts.

Seven Songs of the Spirit-First Song: Wisdom

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

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