May 24, 2015 - Confirmation Celebrated on Pentecost Sunday
The altar and tabernacle, Fr. Saffron and Deacon Davis, were all vested in red as the procession moved up into the sanctuary on Sunday, May 24th, the Feast of Pentecost, to begin the Noon Mass and the celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation for the five, red robed, candidates of St. Anselm’s Adult Confirmation Class.
In his introductory words and in his homily Fr. Saffron, the celebrant of the Mass, reminded the congregation that with the observance of Pentecost the Easter season came to a conclusion. Before sprinkling the congregation with holy water, he spoke movingly of the appropriate use of water to signify our faith in eternal life through Christ. Father explained that the incensing of the altar and the crucifix during Mass to show respect is, like the incensing of the celebrant and the congregation during Mass and the bodies of the deceased brought into the Church for the Rite of Christian Burial, an expression of the faith we have in the Holy Spirit indwelling in us during our lives through our reception of Baptism and Confirmation, and the hope we have in the promise of the Resurrection. He went on to say that the red vestments he and Deacon Davis wore, as well as the red robes, worn by the Confirmation candidates symbolized the tongues of flame that came to rest over the heads of the disciples in the upper room nearly two thousand years ago. Fr. Saffron concluded his homily with a Prayer for the Gifts of the Holy Spirit: O Spirit of Wisdom, preside over all my thoughts, words and actions, …Heavenly Spirit, make me persevere in the service of God, and enable me to act on all occasions with goodness and kindness, … Spirit of Holiness, by your all-powerful grace, preserve me from the misfortune of sin. Amen.
The celebration of the sacrament began with the five candidates being formally presented for reception by their sponsors who stood behind each of them in the next pew. In a series of questions Fr. Saffron inquired if the candidates had been properly prepared. Bro. Robert E. Duffy, O. S. F., Director of Faith Formation at St. Anselm and the teacher of the adult Confirmation class, replied on their behalf in the affirmative to each question and declared that the candidates were ready to receive the sacrament. Fr. Saffron then came down to the candidates and prayed over them with his hands raised, explaining that this custom dates back to ancient Jewish practice and is seen in the Acts of the Apostles. Then each candidate –
Alexis Thérèse Barcia,
Mercedes Sarah Cepeda,
Colin Bartholomew DePaula,
Richard Thomas Oliver, and
David Paul Rodriguez
came before Fr. Saffron in the center aisle, where, assisted by Deacon Thomas G. Davis, they were anointed with oil and given their Confirmation names.
At the conclusion of the Mass, Fr. Saffron asked the newly confirmed to stand and turn to face the congregation. St. Anselm parishioners greeted them with warm applause that was both long and loud. Fr. Saffron told them that not only their sponsors, families and friends, sitting near them, but everyone in the church was now their family and that we all had the responsibility to pray for one another and to support one another in our faith journey.
As the final procession made it way down the center aisle accompanied by the joyous singing of the St. Anselm Adult Choir, under the direction of Ms. Therese Panicali, the five (no longer “candidates”) happily gathered with family and friends for picture taking at the front of the church.
Breathe into me, Holy Spirit,
that my thoughts may all be holy.
Move in me, Holy Spirit,
that my work, too, may be holy.
Attract my heart, Holy Spirit,
that I may love only what is holy.
Strengthen me, Holy Spirit,
that I may defend all that is holy.
Protect me, Holy Spirit,
that I may always be holy.
(Saint Augustine of Hippo)
Congratulations and best wishes to our newly Confirmed St. Anselm parishioners!
All the Best,
The St. Anselm Publicity Committee(CLICK HERE for photos)
Footnote: St. Anselm Church is fortunate to have two art works that illustrate and express the action of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Church: the Pentecost Window and the Façade of the Church.
The Pentecost Window (Acts 2:1-41) on the 82nd Street side of the church depicts the Spirit’s descent as tongues of flame, which come to rest on all present in the upper chamber after the Ascension.
The Church Façade on Fourth Avenue expresses the theology of our salvation coming to humanity from the Father, through the Son, by the action of the Holy Spirit.
For more about the works of art, architecture, and religious symbolism of the church building and the history of St. Anselm Parish, click on “About us” on the home page and go to “History & Tour of St. Anselm Church” and “Parish History”.