Mass for Neophytes: New Catholics continue their journey

By Sr Mary Louise Walsh ISSM, Liturgy Educator in the Office for Worship
Large crowds were in attendance at all the Easter celebrations at St Paul the Apostle Parish, Winston Hills. The pinnacle was the Easter Vigil when seven candidates were inducted into the Church through Baptism, Confirmation and received First Communion. These new Catholics highlight the diversity of backgrounds within the parish community.

On Friday 13 May, all those newly baptised and those received into the Catholic Church from across the Diocese are invited to gather as the newest members of the Diocese of Parramatta to give thanks and praise to God for the wonderful gift received at Easter this year.

This occasion is very symbolic for these neophytes as it marks the end of the period of mystagogia. These newly welcomed adults (and children) have begun in earnest their journey into full membership of the Catholic Church.

As a diocesan community we have an opportunity at this significant Eucharistic celebration to join with them in praising God for their gift of faith and of showing our personal gratitude for who they are becoming as active members of the diocesan community.

Every member of every parish is invited to consider this an opportunity to show support for our newest Catholics by attending the 7.30pm Mass on 13 May at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Parramatta on the Friday before the Solemnity of Pentecost.

This Mass is known as the Mass for Neophytes. A neophyte is one who is newly baptised into the Catholic Faith or received into the Catholic Church.

This ‘title’ is given to those who have journeyed through several previous stages.

The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults begins with a person being recognised as an inquirer or a pre-catechumen.

After a period of discernment between the individual and those leading the process, the person is then formally welcomed into a preparation stage and becomes a catechumen.

This ‘title’ is held throughout the length of instruction and faith development.

Most often, at the beginning of the Lenten season (that is prior to the expected time of initiation or reception) the catechumen is formally welcomed into the final stage of preparation and becomes a member of the elect.

The Rite of Election (when those to be baptised) and the Penitential Service (for those already baptised) marks the climax of preparation when the elect and candidates are presented for initiation or reception into the Catholic Church.

After initiation or reception, the new Catholic is henceforth known as a neophyte. This stage (although not often recognised) marks an ongoing journey into familiarity with and living as a Catholic. It may take months or even years for the individual to move out of this stage.


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