One of the most important celebrations in the life of a parish is when a person is fully initiated into the Church. Tonight at St. Olaf, twenty-two young people received the Sacrament of Confirmation. A time of great joy was witnessed by family, friends, and other parish members, including those providing the music for the Mass.
(A side note: His Excellency, the Most Reverend John C. Wester, due to a prior commitment, was unable to be the celebrant. Faculties for the rite were given to the Vicar General of the diocese, Msgr. J. Terrence Fitzgerald. Msgr. Fitzgerald has also served as Diocesan Administrator twice, after now retired Bishop William K. Weigand and Archbishop George H. Niederauer were transferred to Sacramento and San Francisco, respectively. From what I have been told, Msgr. Fitzgerald's leadership while the bishop's chair was vacant was of immense value.)
While getting ready for the liturgy, I was thinking about who wasn't here. No, not other parishioners. No, not those who had fallen away and whose children could have added to the class. No, I was thinking about those who never were here at the start.
How many more would be here, I wondered, if (and I stress if, because I have no idea) they hadn't been aborted?
It is a question of pure speculation. I will readily admit that. But I couldn't help notice.
I don't know why today was chosen for our confirmandi, but I wish some more thought would have gone into planning the date. Today marks the 36th. anniversary of the United States Supreme Court decisions Roe vs. Wade and Doe vs. Dalton, the rulings which give the country the legal right to have abortion on demand for whatever reason. On a date when a grave evil was given card blanche, two days after inaugurating a new president who has promised to sign into law legislation that would further cement these "rights", those who administer religious education in the parish thought it proper to bestow the final Sacrament of Initiation upon these youth today.
Now that I think about it, why not today?
What a wonderful counter-cultural sign. On one of the blackest spiritual days in the country's history, spiritual life was fully conferred to a very small part of her population. New yeast has been mixed into this dough called living. How much effect it will have remains to be seen. But it was God's voice speaking tonight, calling us to renew the life of the Holy Spirit within us and to choose life.
All the marches and speeches are completed for this year. People will return home and begin to support the cause they favor. Victory has not been won, yet. But as it is, if we work with Him, it will be.
Tonight was just another reminder God is still in charge.