March 28, 2024 // Bishop

Bishop Confirms Young People at St. Matthew Cathedral

On Saturday, March 16, at St. Matthew Cathedral in South Bend, Bishop Rhoades confirmed 76 young people from seven parishes in the South Bend area.

The Gospel reading featured the parable of the talents, which Bishop Rhoades drew on for his homily. The bishop first put the idea of a talent into historical context, noting that in Jesus’ time it was a way of measuring. One silver talent, the bishop said, was worth 15 to 20 years of wages. Just one talent would be more than $1 million today, he added.

Photos by Kasia Balsbaugh
Incense floats up before the procession during the beginning of the 2024 Confirmation Mass at St. Matthew Cathedral on Saturday, March 16.

Of course, the word’s modern usage helps listeners draw connections to the deeper connotations behind the parable. “Oftentimes, when we think of talents, we think of our natural abilities. … Now, I think more important what Jesus is talking about are the spiritual talents, the spiritual gifts that we might receive,” Bishop Rhoades said.

Bishop Rhoades then asked the congregation, “The question is, what do we do with these amazing gifts or talents that God has given us?”

The answer? Service and evangelization – as modeled by the saints.

Bishop Rhoades asked some of the confirmands why they chose the saint names they did. He was very excited to find a student who had St. John as his confirmation name, since Bishop Rhoades’ confirmation name was John. Though the student had chosen a different John – John the Baptist instead Bishop’s namesake, John the Apostle – he and the bishop still talked about John the Baptist’s significance. Bishop Rhoades asked why the student had chosen that saint. “He paved the way for Jesus,” was the reply.

Another student had also chosen a St. John. “St. John Baptist or St. John the Apostle?” Bishop Rhoades asked, to which the student responded with St. John the Apostle. “Oh good, same as me!” Bishop Rhoades said. “You can be the next bishop,” he said, to which the student responded, “OK.”

“Fill out an application after Mass,” Bishop Rhoades joked.

In his homily, Bishop Rhoades exhorts the young people who are about to be confirmed.

Bishop Rhoades also held up St. Matthew – co-patron of the diocese, and another chosen confirmation saint by a student in the crowd – as a wonderful example of discipleship. When none of the confirmands could name the primary patron of the Fort Wayne-South Bend diocese (Our Lady), Bishop Rhoades joked that he would take them all on a personal tour of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne.

Bishop Rhoades also asked the students about the work of the Holy Spirit. “What happens when we live by the Spirit? We will see fruits of the Holy Spirit in our lives,” Bishop Rhoades said, likening the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit to the roots and fruits of a tree.

Bishop Rhoades anoints the foreheads of the young confirmands with chrism as the sponsors stand nearby.

Bishop Rhoades encouraged each confirmand “to really be a Christian, not just to be called a Christian.”

“Today,” Bishop Rhoades said, “the world needs committed Christians who are led by the Spirit.”

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