Neophyte Mass welcomes those fully initiated into the Church at Easter 

On the third Sunday of Easter, April 14, Bishop Robert Deeley celebrated the Neophyte Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Each year, this Mass recognizes those men, women and children from various parishes who were fully initiated into the Catholic Church at Easter through the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and Eucharist. 

“This morning, we continue to gather in the joy of Easter,” said Bishop Deeley in his greeting. “And, as we do, we welcome to the cathedral some of our newest Catholics from around the diocese. They are the sign of the life of our diocese. With each new member of the community, we grow. The Gospel grows and the Risen Christ is proclaimed.” 

Additionally, those who were confirmed and received into the full communion of the Catholic Church at Easter were acknowledged. The number of new Catholics in the diocese was higher this year than in recent years – overall up 35% in 2024 versus 2023. The number of new Catholics in the diocese in 2024 totaled 118. 

"We gather those who could come to the cathedral this morning to celebrate the gift of grace in their lives which has brought them to make this decision to become part of the communion of the Church. As we do, we are all reminded that our faith, this extraordinary gift we are given, is for the living of life." 

Bishop Deeley blessed the entire assembly with holy water as a reminder of the sacrament of baptism. 

He said during his homily, “Our Scripture today helps us to reflect on the role that each of us plays in the mission Jesus gives to the Church, a mission which sends all the baptized to carry on the work of Jesus. There is a place for each of us.” 

He continued, “Our relationship with God, which begins in baptism continues into eternity. It is unending. As such, it comforts us in the loss of loved ones and in our own moments of sickness. When, in our ways of living and the words we speak, we share our experiences of God, we are contributing to the spiritual good of others.” 

In reflecting on Gospel story (Luke 24: 35-48), the bishop explained, "Jesus made himself known in the breaking of the bread, in the Eucharist. He does the same for us today. In this Easter season we remember that Christ is Risen. He did not just rise in the past. We do not celebrate an anniversary of something that happened thousands of years ago. He rises today. And he is present whenever we celebrate the Eucharist. God is with us.” 

Prior to Communion, the neophytes and the newly received were called forward for a special blessing by Bishop Deeley. This blessing is part of the final period of Christian initiation, the post-baptismal catechesis called “mystagogy.” During this period, the bishop meets after the celebration of the Easter Vigil with those whose names were called at the Rite of Election. 

Following the Mass, all were invited to attend a celebratory reception in the cathedral’s Guild Hall. 

Altar server
Sign language interpreter
Priest at altar
Row of parishioners
Bishop with altar servers