A young woman’s confirmation gift: reading at pope’s Mass

After three years of waiting to be confirmed, Clemence Figeac was asked to read an intention of the faithful during Pope Francis’ Pentecost Mass, just two days after receiving the sacrament.
“It was very beautiful,” Figeac told CNA June 9, “especially, because first there was a little rehearsal the day before, and the person in charge of the liturgy said that our reading had to be a prayer.”
The liturgy director stressed that “we had to feel all words and pray because we are in prayer and we could help people pray. There is a communication in our way of pronouncing or speaking” she said, “and this is beautiful because it says there is a desire to pray.”
“One feels really moved in this prayer and in this Mass in a certain different way,” Figeac noted, explaining that while she read she prayed “to the Holy Spirit to” inspire those that heard her.
Hailing from the small town of Lille in northern France, 28-year-old Figeac grew up Catholic but had been distant from the church, only discovering the importance of the sacrament of confirmation four years ago.
Figeac explained after feeling the desire to receive her confirmation and “participate in the second living element in the Church,” she moved to Rome two years ago in order to study, where she met a priest from her hometown, who is the chaplain for the Centro San Lorenzo, founded in 1983 by Pope John Paul II as an international center dedicated to the youth of the world.
“We met by chance and the encounter was very beautiful, like a city from heaven” she said, recalling how “I immediately told him about my desire to be confirmed, and he really accompanied me and helped me, although he would always wait for a sign on my part.”
Although she had wanted to receive the sacrament, Figeac waited, recounting how she finally made the decision after receiving a message from the priest one day asking if she had found a priest and a parish where she could arrange it.
“So I did my confirmation at the Centro San Lorenzo with this priest that prepared me” she explained, noting that she was confirmed by Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council of the Laity just last Friday.
“It was a beautiful moment because you can see that he is a man of faith. So since I didn’t know him before, and the fact I received confirmation and he transmits the Holy Spirit and the faith in his goodness enables you to go further. So this Mass had so much meaning.”
Recalling how “before I didn’t know the church, I didn’t value the importance of the church, I didn’t see the meaning of the church,” Figeac explained that when she finally “met the Holy Spirit,” she “had the will to discern the faith more, understand my faith” and “I really became Catholic.”
“I believe that this sacrament carries you toward a second element: to participate in creating the church. It allows you to live your faith. It gives you the strength to live your Christian life” she said.
So “as a gift, they proposed that I read an intention of the faithful in the Holy Father’s Pentecost Mass.”
Pentecost is a Greek term referring to the day when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles after Jesus’ ascension into heaven. The sacrament of confirmation is a re-living of this descent into the heart of the one who receives it.
Describing how she will move back to France in just under two weeks where her and her fiancée will plan their wedding, Figeac revealed that another great motivation to receiver her confirmation is for her work, because “I would like to work for the church and give myself in service.”
“So the fact that the Holy Spirit helps you to have a role in the church, I see it more in the role of my work.”
“I would like to be an element, to try to do something placing myself at the service” of the church, she explained, adding that “everyone tries to do that, without doing big things, but at least the minimum.”


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