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Sacramental Life of the Church

Nov 18

Written by:
11/18/2018 12:10 AM  RssIcon

The best days of the year for me, as a priest, are the days we celebrate the Sacramental Life of the Church in a particular way. Obviously, every Mass is important and vital to me; but Mass takes on a special importance when it includes a First Communion, or the celebration of Confirmation or a Wedding; those days are so enjoyable because you get to see the work of Grace active in the life of parishioners in a very particular way.

While it does not occur at Mass, the celebration of First Reconciliation is also an enjoyable and exciting opportunity with our young people. The hidden joy is that I get to celebrate it twice, too! Especially at First Reconciliation, our young people are a mix of excitement, nerves, and joy. It is a special privilege to be with them on these unique occasions of these encounters with God as He continues to call them to that unique greatness found only in our relationship with Him.

The Sacramental Life of the Church has this tangible reality that we are connecting with God, with the One Who Created each one of us, uniquely, while we were still in our mother’s womb. In fact, God knew each one of us even before she knew we were present, so deep is God’s ever faithful love for His people, and for you, uniquely, too!

It is so humbling, as a priest, to facilitate these encounters between the people of God and the One True God who created us all. As I think of these days, I think of a promotional video that was put together during my time as director of vocations. One of our seminarians (and now a priest!) mentioned: ‘I think every young man should go to the seminary, at least to see if God is calling Him to the priesthood!’ Admittedly, Archbishop Schnurr was not so keen on this idea, as the budget would be way bigger! But there is some truth to the sentiment shared.

There should be a natural curiosity on the part of a young man to wonder about the priesthood. There should be a natural curiosity on the part of a young woman to imagine herself in the place of a religious sister. Because when these vocations are lived out worthily and well, they should naturally attract others to these vocations! (Much as married life does the same, too!)

November starts with the two great celebrations of All Saints Day and All Souls Day, and the first full week of November is now National Vocation Awareness Week. The rest of the month, in the Church, is often dedicated to the Four Last Things: Heaven, Hell, Death and Judgement. Not in a way to frighten nor intimidate, but to invite the people of God to consider what their unique pathway is to eternal life with God in heaven; November is an invitation to consider how God is inviting us all to walk along side Him in the Vocation He has laid out before us.

Whenever we celebrate these Sacraments for our young people, I certainly pray that they be open to wherever God is leading them in their lives. And if that path leads towards the priesthood or religious life, it is such a great joy to follow in this path. But that joy comes from knowing, loving, and serving Jesus no matter where that path leads!

I certainly invite everyone to continue to pray for our young people, as well, that they can find the peace that comes from following Jesus!

God Bless,
Fr. Kyle Schnippel


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Re: Why do we place a white pall on the casket of the deceased at funeral Masses?
I have been wondering about that. Thank you for explaining it.

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