The beginning of the service

The annual service to welcome candidates for Baptism and those wishing for full communion with the Church took place in St. Andrew’s Cathedral on 18th February. A total of 80 people (43 catechumens and 37 candidates for full communion) were present in the cathedral with family members and friends as well as many of the priests from their parishes.

The service was a warm and welcoming one. The St. Mungo Singers provided music, including Catherine Walker’s very appropriate new piece Come Now to Me, my Child, to create a meditative space as the congregation settled in place.

Archbishop Tartaglia in his homily welcomed everyone to what he described as “this lovely step forward”. For the catechumens, he said it was a unique moment in their lives as they chose Christ and his church. They would complete this journey at Easter. Then it would be time to start the new journey through life. For the candidates for full communion, it was also a big step. When they would be confirmed and receive Communion at Easter, they would experience the joy of fully entering the community of the Church.

These are days, said the Archbishop, when people say no-one believes and God does not act, but you (the catechumens and candidates) are the proof that this is not true; you are our good news story. The Gospel reading for the service – the cure of the deaf man – is an image of baptism. We are invited to have our ears opened to hear the Word of God. The deeper reality of today is that Christ is the one who does the choosing – he chooses you and this is a moment of grace for you and for the Church.

The Archbishop finished with the thought that in Lent, we are all called to conversion. Temptation stops us all in our way, and for the catechumens and candidates there may be doubts and fears but don’t be afraid, he said, be joyful.

After the formal part of the service of welcome, there followed the informal gathering in the Eyre Hall for refreshments, when the catechumens and candidates had an opportunity to celebrate with their family and friends and sponsors and to meet with the Archbishop.