Fr Curtis G Poyer, CCSJ/AMMR
In August and September of 2020 at the height of the pandemic, we celebrated the Sacraments of First Communion, and Confirmation, four candidates each Sunday, for the five Sundays of August and then the four of September.
At the end of each celebration, we gave each candidate a special cross (see photo). The crosses were made by members of a group called La Pastoral del Medio Ambiente (Earth and Ecology Ministry), in the diocese of Tampico, Mexico, where I currently live and work.
We explained to the newly initiated that these rugged crosses are themselves highly symbolic, in the following ways:
Such weaving together helps us to deepen the understanding that the ecological disaster means that, like Jesus, the planet too is being crucified, and ‘bleeds’, or loses oxygen, loses life. And that Christian spirituality, and the care and restoration of the planet, are both dimensions of the one Christian life.
I know, of course, that every now and again, I’ll have to remind post-First Communion and Confirmation children and teenagers, as well as their parents and godparents of the rich symbolism of their faith, of the mysterious bond between the horizontal and vertical dimensions of the Kingdom or Reign of God, and of the urgency to take bold steps now to prevent ecological, and therefore also, human disaster.