Are Catholics gracious?

Many of the catechumens who signed the Book of the Elect in St. Patrick’s Cathedral on the First Sunday of Lent will respond to an invitation from Timothy Cardinal Dolan that day, and return to the Cathedral this coming Sunday as newly initiated Catholics. They will join Cardinal Dolan for the Neophyte Mass at 10:15 a.m.

After Mass, three youngsters will present to Cardinal Dolan a collection of “Spiritual Bouquets” from children in parish religious education programs all over the Archdiocese. From what I could see as the bouquets came in to the Archdiocesan Catechetical Office, the Cardinal is going to be one of the most prayed-for prelates in the Catholic Church.

I thought about these newly baptized and young Catholics today as I attended a Mass of Christian Burial for a 93 year-old woman whose son is a good friend of mine. In his homily, the pastor talked about this lovely lady’s graciousness, a quality that served her in her prime and later, when she had to endure the infirmities of old age and weakness.

I hope that in days and years to come, our neophytes and young Catholics will experience graciousness from the Church — meaning us, its members. That’s a quality that is not always apparent, particularly when we disagree with someone else or even among ourselves. The blogosphere is evidence of that.

Father Jim Martin, S.J., posted his take on this the other day in the “In All Things” blog at  America Magazine. You may laugh or cringe…or both.  However, it is worth taking to heart, especially these days when we want to be examples of graciousness to the neophytes and young Catholics in our midst. Thanks, Father Jim.

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