A Quick Note on Liturgy
The Neophyte Mass
Most people have no idea what is meant by the term Neophyte Mass. Looking up the word neophyte in the dictionary, we find it refers to a seedling or new sprout. While it is the time of year for new sprouts as we prepare to plant gardens and renew our planting beds, what does it have to do with our bishop and the Mass?
The term neophyte is given to those who have joined the Catholic Church through baptism at the Easter Vigil. They are “new sprouts” in terms of the faith. Through their journey of faith to join the church, they learned many aspects of the faith from the simple gesture of singing themselves with the sign of the cross to some of the more dogmatic elements of our faith. Yet, they have had little opportunity to experience and truly live the faith in the few short weeks between the Easter Vigil and the scheduled Neophyte Mass on Pentecost Sunday.
Over these few weeks these neophytes have reflected upon the sacraments they received at the Easter Vigil and how they are to live their lives as Catholics. They have continued to search for ways in which they will best live their lives as members of the parish community – a process we all experience every day as we also reflect on our own role in the parish community. Yet we are all part of a larger community, we are members of the Catholic Diocese of Columbus Ohio, a community that is gathered around the local bishop.
All catechumens who were preparing for the Sacraments of Initiation at the Easter Vigil were sent to the Rite of Election on the First Sunday of Lent for a special celebration with the Diocesan Bishop. As the leader of the local church, the bishop is charged with the responsibility of overseeing the entire initiation process. The announcement of the Church’s decision to accept the call of the catechumens to the sacraments of initiation falls to him.
Although the bishop does celebrate the Easter Vigil at the cathedral church, it is still very important that all the neophytes understand that they did not just become a member of a parish, they are part of a local Church which is built up around its bishop. Therefore, each year, the bishop invites all the neophytes of the diocese to join him at a special Mass – the Neophyte Mass. Bishop Campbell has invited the neophytes to the 10:30 a.m. Pentecost Sunday Mass celebrated at the Cathedral of Saint Joseph.
Quick Notes on Liturgy are produced by the Office of Liturgy of the Diocese of Columbus