Bishop urges new Catholics to employ a spiritual regimen

CHARLESTON — The Diocese of Charleston celebrated Pentecost May 15 with its annual Neophyte Liturgy, welcoming new Catholics who were received into the Church this Easter throughout the diocese.

The Mass at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist brought together Catholics from all over the diocese who had received the sacraments of baptism, confirmation and/or first Communion in April at the Easter Vigil celebration.

Bishop Robert J. Baker told the new Catholics that the Holy Spirit had led them to the Church.

He urged the neophytes to answer the call to holiness that comes with their Baptism and Confirmation and is nourished by the sacraments, particularly the Holy Eucharist.

“In this year of the Eucharist, proclaimed by Pope John Paul II and continued under Pope Benedict XVI, we have been reminded that the Eucharist is the heart of the mystery of the Church,” he said, “the greatest gift the Church has in her journey through history — the summit and source of the Christian life because it contains the church’s entire spiritual wealth, Christ Himself, our Passover and our Living Bread.”

The bishop suggested that the neophytes use a spiritual regimen whenever possible to serve God, a regimen which he also recommends to his new priests. It consists of daily prayer, daily Mass, where possible, or time before the Blessed Sacrament, praying part of the Liturgy of the Hours, spiritual reading, and the sacrament of penance. The bishop told the neophytes that growing in virtue, showing devotion to the Blessed Mother and the saints, and attending to the spiritual and human development of their lives with the help of a spiritual director are also part of the regimen.

“It’s the Holy Spirit who leads us to faith in God,” he said. “We don’t get there on our own. And prayer to the Spirit helps us get his guidance and direction on the way. The Holy Spirit is our spiritual director, our great teacher in the way of faith.”

The bishop also reminded the congregation to come to Mass.

“We can do no better than to come here often as we are doing today to nourish the life of Christ, the life of the Spirit within us, the life that is the Body and Blood of Christ, brought into our midst by the power of the Holy Spirit,” he said.