Pope confirms 44, including two U.S. teens

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis confirmed 44 people today, including two teens from Ridgewood, N.J.

It was a warm, sunny morning and the faces (not to mention the new suits and dresses) of the confirmation candidates were bright and shiny.

Pope Francis confirms Anthony Merejo

Anthony Merejo of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Ridgewood, NJ, is confirmed by Pope Francis. (CNS/screen grab)

Using chrism oil to seal each candidate in the Holy Spirit, Pope Francis made the sign of the cross, then proceeded to rub the oil all over their foreheads. Each candidate got a quick peck on the cheek afterward.

In his homily, Pope Francis said the Holy Spirit brings “the new things of God. He comes to us and makes all things new; he changes us.”

If Christians allow it and are open to it, he said, the Holy Spirit starts making things new now, in this life. “The Holy Spirit is truly transforming us and through us he also wants to transform the world in which we live.”

“How beautiful it would be,” he said, if each person allowed himself or herself to be guided by the Holy Spirit. Each night he or she would be able to review the day and say, “Today at school, at home, at work, guided by God, I showed a sign of love toward one of my friends, my parents, an older person.”

Pope Francis said he wanted to be realistic; “the journey of the church and our own personal journeys as Christians are not always easy; they meet with difficulties and trials.”

But the Holy Spirit gives believers the strength and courage to overcome trials, Pope Francis said. “Let’s not get discouraged,” he said. “We have the strength of the Holy Spirit to conquer these tribulations.”

“Remain steadfast in the journey of faith,” the pope said. “Listen carefully, young people, swim against the tide; it’s good for the heart, but it takes courage.”

The Holy Spirit is the source of the necessary courage, he said. “There are no difficulties, none, no trials or misunderstandings to fear if we remain united to God.”

3 Responses

  1. I prayed the entire Mass live in EWTN and was deeply impressed all through. .HH Francis gave a practical homily in simple words with his usual spirited delivery. The usual handshake of peace was replaced by the original kiss of peace on the cheek (once a touch of the bishop’s ring that was interpreted in our time as a blow to be strong!) and he chatted with the confirmed after Mass. I was reminded of a lecture one US bishop gave when I was a Confirmation teacher and his effort to defend his lecture on birth control, abortion cloning as part of a run-down on all the commandments; most of the kids were Hispanic whose family background was not the most fertile field for their taking part in the sacrament. I say” lecture” because it was not a homily in any sense. I asked him why he did not mingle with them instead of a very long event that started before it began with sign-in and seating, began at 2 PM and ended at 5;15 PM with people from the entire diocese.. All the kids saw was a long-winded pointy hatted out of touch bishop. After that pastor’s term, our leaders were a bi-lingual pastor son of a Mexican-father Caucasian mother and the same 80-year old DRE nun who spoke no Spanish. They could never see their own total lack of pastoral zeal and understanding; I shuddered. .

  2. So defending the dignity of marriage open to life and the sanctity of life is being “out of touch”? And you were a comfirmation teacher? Might we call the bishop doctrinal and the group uninterested? If you have a different point to that portion of your story I’d like to hear it.

    “There is no such thing on earth as an uninteresting subject, only uninterested people”

    “Progress properly understood, has indeed, a most dignified and legitimate meaning. But used in opposition to precise moral ideals, it is ludicrous. So far from it being the truth that the ideal of progress is to be set against that of ethical or religious finality the reverse is the truth. Nobody has any business to use the word “progress” unless he has a definite creed and a cast iron set of morals. Nobody can be progressive without being doctrinal; I might almost say that nobody can be progressive without being infallible- at any rate without believing in some infallibility.”

    From: Heritics, G. K. Chesterton, 1905

  3. Why are we Catholics?
    And what is our role withing the Catholic Church?
    If we love GOD we must do as he – Serve:+:

    http://www.ncregister.com/registerradio/april-12-2013-reviving-the-sacred-integrating-faith-at-work

    please excuse if this infringes CR of any communication entity.
    posted sole for the purpose of Unity within our Beloved Church + All of Us.

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