Red Tongues of Fire

Source: the author

“…be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit”:  words of the Archbishop anointing each of the candidates with the Sacred Chrism oil.

Forty-four young people received the sacrament of Confirmation at St. Ignatius Parish in Winnipeg on Wednesday evening, May 15th.  At 6:45 p.m. they gathered with their sponsors in the hall waiting for the liturgy to begin.

It has been sixty six years since I stood waiting at the back of our little rural parish church in St Peter’s Colony about 5 miles north of Kronau, Saskatchewan, waiting at 9:45 a.m. with three of my sisters and a number of other children, waiting for Archbishop O’Neil to arrive.

It had rained hard during the night.  The roads were a muddy mess.  Only one of my sisters’ sponsors managed to plough through the mud.  Aunt Annie had to stand in for all three of my sisters!  My sponsor, uncle Johnny, was there.

Curiously, I was not nervous.   I was thinking how I really wanted to be a soldier of Christ, perhaps not a surprising thought for a ten year old in regard to service in 1953, just a few years after the end of the second great war.  I still treasure that moment and see how it was the beginning of my life as a disciple of Jesus.

From that moment of simple surrender to His service, I recognize that indeed the Holy Spirit has lead me through these many years to what at that time I could not have even dreamed.  From that moment till now I recognize the Spirit’s activity in and around me even though sometimes it is only long after an experience that recognition dawns.

On Wednesday watching the serious faces of the forty four waiting to be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit in the sacrament of Confirmation, I wondered what was going through their hearts and minds.  I prayed fervently with the Archbishop as he anointed each forehead with the chrism “be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

I continue to pray these young disciples will be always filled with all the gifts of the Spirit as they strike out on wonderful and joyous paths of service.

I pray you recall your being “sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit”.   I pray you recognize today the presence of the Holy Spirit working in your lives and in those around you!

The peace and joy of the risen Jesus be with you.

Frank Obrigewitsch, SJ, is pastor of St. Ignatius parish in Winnipeg.

  • Maria Skarzynski
    Posted at 10:22h, 19 June Reply

    What a beautiful article based on personal memory Father !! It immediately brings the reader’s mind to their own Sacrament of Confirmation. Thank you !!

  • Peter Bisson
    Posted at 14:22h, 19 June Reply

    Thank you Frank!

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