By KATHY SCHMUGGE
LEXINGTON — Father Jerome Schwab, pastor of Corpus Christi Church, spoke on the sacraments to a large group of youth from not only his parish but also from Saxe Gotha Presbyterian Church in Lexington on March 7.
His ecumenical talk provided a review for his Catholic youth, but was also an eye opening experience for the Presbyterian youth, who had many questions about the Catholic faith.
Noting similarities in some sacraments, Father Schwab immediately drew the two groups together, calling the baptized, citizens of heaven. He also described the Catholic rituals so that one could understand the importance of signs and symbols.
“The sacraments are mysteries, so far beyond us …. They are windows to seeing God,” said Father Schwab.
He also cleared us some common misconceptions about the actions of the priests in the sacraments.
“Baptism is sacred because it is not the priest or minister baptizing but Jesus Christ. We are just instruments of Christ,” he added, making similar remarks about the sacrament of reconciliation.
After his talk, there were a number of provocative questions directed to Father Schwab from Presbyterian youth. “Why is Jesus on the Cross?” asked Travis Porter, pointing to the crucifix above the altar, something rarely seen in Protestant churches.
“The crucifix helps us meditate on the suffering of Christ since that is where we all are. We are not resurrected persons yet,” answered Father Schwab.
He also added that during the liturgy of the Eucharist, where “Calvary is made in our time and place,” Catholics celebrate Christ’s passion, death and resurrection.
Even Reverend Bobby McBride, pastor of Saxe Gotha, participated in the question and answer part of the talk.
After asking about the leadership of the Catholic Church, he spoke about the organization of his denomination, which follows the tribe model of the Old Testament with elders instead of bishops.
A profound moment came when Father Schwab was asked about what the consecrated host looked like in the tabernacle.
“It probably looks similar to your Communion, but the theology is different,” he answered.
After giving a simple but precise explanation of the mystery behind the Real Presence, Father Schwab briefly revealed the host.