During the month of April we pray in a special way for those who enter the faith at the commencement of the Easter season. Many Catholics regard welcoming new members into the Church as a high point in the liturgical year, especially given the recently reported on trends of religious disaffiliation. In today’s world of competing idols, young people in particular are losing sight of their vocational call and the ability to coherently discuss faith.
As a young girl, I always loved the Sundays when a Baptism took place in the context of the Mass. There were many reasons I found Baptisms captivating; for starters, they punctuated our usual Sunday routine with something out of the ordinary. But more than that, I was drawn up into the joy and the excitement of the sacrament. I loved seeing the little babies, water poured over them, oil lathered on their foreheads, their candles lit, the priest saying “________________, in the name of Christ, we welcome you into the Church,” and the choir singing, “Blessed be God, O blessed be God, who calls you by name, holy and chosen one.”
We are in the midst of a season that compels us to express our gratitude, and, as Catholics, we are always called to give gratitude to God, especially as we participate in the celebration of the Eucharist. In Scripture, St. Paul exhorts us to give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18), to give thanks always and for everything (Ephesians 5:20).
The story of “doubting” Thomas (cf. John 20:19–31) is a gospel passage that can make people cringe. This passage is, sadly, often interpreted as though it were contrasting reason, on the one hand, with faith (or gullibility), on the other. For example, one very influential atheist, Richard Dawkins, refers to the story of doubting Thomas in The Selfish Gene to argue Christians think the “greatest virtue” of faith is that it is “blind” and “doesn’t need evidence” at all (330).
The campus at the University of Notre Dame is often regarded as one of the most beautiful college campuses in the U.S., and for good reason. The grounds crew maintains painstaking attention to detail during every season, ensuring the lawns are neatly manicured, flowers are perpetually in bloom during the warmer months, and Notre Dame is presenting its best self to any visitors.