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Bishop urges newly confirmed to follow Christ, no matter the cost

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On the Solemnity of Pentecost — the birthday of the church — Bishop Michael F. Burbidge, Bishop Emeritus Paul S. Loverde and a standing-room only crowd at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington welcomed more than 190 newly confirmed Catholics from throughout the diocese into the church.

“Dear candidates, we are so proud of you. We thank you for your witness,” Bishop Burbidge said to the confirmandi before he and Bishop Emeritus Loverde made the sign of the cross on each of their foreheads with chrism. “What you are promising today, in just a few moments, is that you’ll follow Jesus, no matter the cost. Is it always easy to follow the Lord? No. Is it always possible? Yes, with the strength that God provides.”

Bishop Burbidge said that the reason the confirmandi chose to be there was to receive the peace that the world does not provide.

“Follow me, that’s what Jesus said to his disciples; you want peace, follow me,” Bishop Burbidge said recounting Jesus’ words.

In his homily, he described three important areas in which all the faithful can help safeguard this God-given gift of peace: right relationship with themselves, with others and with God.

“Today you are anointed with his sign, the sign of the cross. Not only to remind you that you belong to Christ, but to remind you what Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Take up your cross,’” Bishop Burbidge said. “All of you know what that means. At work, at school and in your communities, if you are going to follow Christ — remain true to his demands, to his ways and to the Gospel — you know the Cross. To do what is good, holy, pure and just sometimes you have to pay a price for it. Maybe be falsely labeled, ridiculed maybe even rejected.”

After being confirmed, Army Major Daniel Han, a parishioner of St. Paul Chung Church in Fairfax, described how the Holy Spirit, the person given to the church on Pentecost, inspired him and his wife, Yujin, to seek confirmation.

“We wanted our family to be strong in the faith,” Han said as his wife looked on holding their daughter. “It was an honor to be blessed by the bishop and it meant so much to hear him say the words, ‘Peace be with you.’”

Monica Melan, a parishioner of Our Lady of Good Counsel Church in Vienna, broke down in tears of joy as her friends from her Bible study congratulated her.

“This day is beyond special. God called me for this about a year ago. I heard him calling and I just responded,” Melan said. “I chose Mother Mary, my best friend, as my confirmation saint.”


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019