Lifelet: Intertwining stories of love and church

Father John Madigan stood with no notes at the front of the alter at Bellevue’s Sacred Heart Church at the Easter Vigil mass and mesmerized me with his welcoming of new Catechumens to the Catholic Church.  We were there to celebrate the wife of a close friend and colleague joining the Catholic community.

Father Madigan asked us to remember when we fell in love with the person we might marry.  “Remember the stories you share of meeting that person and then meeting your loved one’s family.  As your love grew together, your stories also grew together.  And then as you each meet the other’s family, now a larger set of stories are intertwined.  Our lives in the largest sense are the intermingling of our stories.  A key part of those stories revolves around being invited to dinner.”

Father Madigan gently invited us to remember our shared stories with our loved ones and how those stories grew and expanded over the years.

Then he shifted gears addressing the Catechumens directly: “Tonight your shared journey and stories have led you to join in the shared stories of the Catholic Church. Each of you has a story of what brought you to your discernment journey to join the church.  During your RCIA sessions you shared your stories.  To celebrate your stories we are inviting you to dinner to join with us in the Lord’s Supper.  Your individual stories will now be a part of this community’s shared stories.”

Father John Madigan baptizing a Catechumen

Shared stories.  Intertwined stories.  Shared love.  Invitation to supper.

What a beautiful reminder of the value of rites of passage in our lives to generate stories.

As we prayed for our friend’s discernment and journey to joining us at the Lord’s dinner, I was reminded of my own choosing to join the Catholic Church 25 years ago.  I reflected on how my stories have intertwingled with our family and our community through the years.

Thank you Father John Madigan for bringing the story of Jesus, and the Easter Vigil alive for us this day.  We welcome all the new Catechumens as they join us for our communion.

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