Bishop: 40 days end with an act of faith
By Albert de Zutter
Catholic Key Editor
KANSAS CITY - Salvation history was retold in words and music as Bishop Raymond J. Boland celebrated the Easter Vigil in Donnelly Hall March 30, temporary home of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
Albert de Zutter/Key photo
Msgr. Ernest J. (Bud) Fiedler baptizes Barry Blackburn during the Cathedral Parish's Easter Vigil Mass in Donnelly Hall.
In song and in readings from Genesis, Exodus, Isaiah, Ezekiel, St. Paul and Luke, the story of God's saving relationship with his people was proclaimed, culminating with the central mystery of the Christian faith, the resurrection of Christ.
"Why do you seek the living one among the dead," asks the young man in the tomb as Mary of Magdala, Mary the mother of James, and Joanna come to anoint the body of Jesus.
And Bishop Boland, in his homily, asked those attending the Easter Vigil about the outcome of their 40 days of Lent: "Have you had your Cornelius experience?"
Cornelius, he explained, was a centurion, "an ordinary fellow," commander of the group of Roman soldiers charged with carrying out the execution of Jesus.
"He had a job to do. The job of carrying out an execution is never a pleasant task," Bishop Boland said.
Cornelius carried out his task and, having thrust his lance into Jesus' side, was moved to proclaim, "Truly this was the Son of God."
"That is the act of faith we should all make at the end of these 40 days," said the bishop. "That is our Cornelius experience."
The events of the next day also illustrate acts of faith, Bishop Boland said. In the Gospel of John, Mary of Magdala believed immediately when the man she thought was the gardener spoke her name, the bishop said. And when John and Peter ran to the tomb, Peter saw the wrappings in the tomb, but the Gospel records that when John looked into the tomb, "he looked and believed."
"John began to see immediately that this was a sign of the resurrection," Bishop Boland said. "He jumped directly into faith. Mary Magdalene had a similar experience.
"We have to go looking for Christ. We must find him in other people and ask him to turn around and say our name. And then we must say, 'The Lord lives.' We must go back to the words of Cornelius and declare, 'Surely this was the Son of God.'"
Eleven people were brought into full communion with the Catholic faith during the liturgy. Catechumens receiving Baptism and Confirmation were Renee Hamilton, Peter LaFond, Bob Reed, Barry Blackburn and Kimberly Cacioppo.
Candidates being confirmed in the faith who were already baptized in another Christian tradition were Larry Brown, Gloria Abercrombie, Kaci McDaniels, Michael Smoots, Carletta Dee Carver and Jil Murdock.
"Do you believe and profess what the Holy Catholic Church believes, teaches and proclaims to be revealed by God?" the bishop asked them before confirming them.
"We do believe," they replied.
The bishop then said: "The Lord receives you into the Church. God's love has led you here so that, in the unity of the Holy Spirit you may have full communion with us through the faith you have professed in the presence of this community."