Through the Holy Spirit, ‘holding Jesus as Lord in our hearts’
By Steve Euvino
Northwest Indiana Cathedral
GARY — Cesar Sanchez felt "very proud, very energized" when his bride-to-be, Alisha Gallardo, was among the adult confirmandi May 19 at Holy Angels Cathedral.
"Our marriage will be blessed," Sanchez said in anticipation of the July 27 nuptials in Jalisco, Mexico.
Gallardo, from Nativity of Our Savior, Portage, was among more than 60 people confirmed by Bishop Dale J. Melczek in a packed cathedral. They were all practicing Catholics who, for whatever reason, had never been confirmed.
In his homily on Pentecost, Bishop Melczek noted, "Through baptism, the Holy Spirit forms us into the mystical Body of Christ. If we love [Jesus], he will send the Holy Spirit to confirm all Jesus taught us about ... the intimate relationship God wishes to have with us."
Opening the rite with the blessing of water and sprinkling — reflective of the waters of baptism — Bishop Melczek led the assembly to renew their baptismal promises, after which the bishop and other priests prayed over the candidates for confirmation. Then the candidates and their sponsors approached the bishop for anointing with the Oil of Chrism and a sign of peace.
As Bishop Melczek stated in his homily, "Our faith is principally about our relationship with Jesus and Jesus with the Father and Holy Spirit. Through the Holy Spirit we are able to have this intimate relationship with Jesus. Through the Spirit, we can proclaim Jesus as Lord and hold Jesus as Lord in our hearts."
During this Year of Faith, the bishop continued, the faithful need to "take more seriously our living dynamic with Jesus on a day-to-day basis. The Holy Spirit helps that relationship."
Recalling the Ascension from the previous Sunday, Bishop Melczek said that Jesus called upon his disciples to go out into the world, but to wait until the fulfillment of the Father's promises. After Pentecost, the bishop said, the apostles, through the Holy Spirit, had the courage to go out and make believers of thousands.
Today the Catholic Church has 1.2 billion members, Bishop Melczek said. That growth, he said, is due to believers, empowered by the Holy Spirit, who "took our relationship with Jesus very seriously and we shared God's love with others.
"We proclaim Jesus by the way we live."
Robert Hubstar, from St. Bridget, Hobart, always thought he had been confirmed. After being asked to be godparent for a new niece, he discovered he was never confirmed. "This is something all parents should instill in their children, to make sure they have all the sacraments," Hubstar said, "so this doesn't happen to you."
Some of the confirmandi were adults, while others were older teens. Jenny Humpfer, a teen from St. Teresa of Avila, Valparaiso, waited a little longer than most of her peers, but she added, "It means a lot more than if I had done it when I was younger. I thought this was an ending, but it feels like a beginning."
Ethan Frame, from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Valparaiso, admitted, "I took a long road to confirmation, but I came back and did a lot of work. I'm really glad I finally got to be confirmed."
Kevin Kirkham's oldest daughter was recently confirmed, and the parishioner at St. Ann of the Dunes, Beverly Shores, felt it was about time he did the same. "This is very important for me," said Kirkham, the father of three. "I want to set a good example for my children."
Bishop Melczek encouraged the candidates for confirmation to "treasure this gift and call upon the Holy Spirit often, to help you know what is God's will for you, the courage to do the right thing, to grow in your relationship with God."