Claiming Our Baptism – A look ahead to the Orlando Liturgical Conference

Aug 13, 2021

ORLANDO | “Claiming our Baptism goes to our very identity as Catholic Christians. It’s the beginning of everything,” said Bruce Croteau, director of liturgy for the Diocese of Orlando. “Wherever you go after you are initiated into the Church, it starts with your identity as baptized Christians.” This identity directs our daily living, our relationship with the Eucharist and our participation in the life of the Church and Mass. To embrace Christ’s charge to be missionary disciples, Christians must understand how to claim their Baptism.

Croteau noted, “We felt the identity of the priesthood of the baptized was important to stress and what that means – in terms of our responsibilities and our rights as a member of Christ. We have a right to celebrate Mass. This is part of our identity as the adopted children of God. We felt people needed to re-embrace that identity as priest, prophet, and king.” He explained, “A priest who offers sacrifice, a prophet who shows the way of the Gospel and what it is calling us to; and king, being an example of servant leadership.”

To do this the Orlando Liturgical Conference planning team enlisted Liturgy Training Publications. Laudable speakers will break open what it means to offer ourselves to Christ in the liturgy. Father Paul Turner, director of the Office of Divine Worship for the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, will speak Friday. Father Turner also serves as a facilitator for the International Commission on English in the Liturgy. He will delve into the depths of our identity as priest, prophet, and king and share how we participate in the Eucharist as a priestly people.

Participants will be treated to presentations by Patricia Hughes, DMIN, who served as director of the office of worship for the Diocese of Dallas, TX and Grand Rapids, MI, on Saturday.

Also presenting is Michael Ruzicki, author of Guide for Training Initiation of Ministers: An Introduction to the RCIA and a team member of the North American Forum on the Catechumenate. Both will speak to the dignity of the baptized and how liturgical ministers assist in celebrating and recognizing the Paschal Mystery through our ritual celebrations. Mindful of our responsibilities, they will answer the questions: what does “Baptismal Living” look like and how do we teach that to others?

Croteau acknowledges many may not understand the Mass is an act of worship requiring “participation of both priest and congregation which builds up the body of Christ.” He said, “One does not detract from the other. Our triumphs, our failures, everything is put on the altar as a sacrifice of praise to the Father, through Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.” The goal of this year’s conference is to increase this understanding.

He added, “We run the risk of thinking that participation is either singing or saying the responses. But participation is an internal participation that manifests itself in external ways. You have to have the internal going on.” He explained, “If in my own mind’s eye I don’t see myself being offered to God – through my disposition, my willingness to do liturgy, to be part of it, then I am not going to enter into it.”

Expounding on the point, Bishop John Noonan noted, “We come to celebrate through the gift of Christ, His body and blood—the spiritual food that nourishes us as people of God. In a sense, liturgy helps us put our minds and hearts closer to the Lord and puts us at peace in our daily lives—knowing we are made in the image and likeness of God and we have a special relationship with God through Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.”

Croteau notes our Baptism calls us “to share in all aspects of the body of Christ”. He invites everyone to learn and teach how to engage with all the elements of the liturgy, and to be transformed through our Baptismal call.

The Orlando Liturgical Conference is Aug. 27-28 at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Winter Park.

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By Glenda Meekins of the Florida Catholic, August 13, 2021