Re: the Oct. 26 Letter to the Editor, “Too Long to Belong.”
As a convert and an RCIA coordinator, I have often received astonishment regarding the time commitment required for receiving adult Baptism and Confirmation. Some platitudes could be offered: “The early centuries of the Church required three years,” or “The American Catholic Bishops require one year of formation,” or “Cradle Catholics average 7-8 years in religious education after baptism to receive their other sacraments.” All true, albeit uninspiring.
However, as I witness the electric enthusiasm of hundreds of new candidates each year gathered at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in advance of Easter Vigil, their excitement is not merely from being taught theological understanding but inspired by having their love for God and His Church cultivated and nurtured. They eagerly await the satisfaction of their longing, like a young couple in love the night before their wedding.
Preparation for adult baptism and confirmation is indeed parallel to preparation for the sacrament of marriage. Both bring us into life-long relationship. The Church as the Bride of Christ is wedded in sacrament to Jesus, and the sacraments draw us into and nourish in us the very life of God.
No one throws up their hands in disgust at spending a year preparing for their wedding. And no one spends that year in a vacuum reading about marriage. It is a time rich in absorbing all about the other. Preparation for baptism and confirmation is courtship, making ready for the most sublime union with the Bridegroom and His Church. For love, nothing is too long.
Gayle DiNicola is an instructor/facilitator in the archdiocese’s Ulster County Adult Confirmation Program.