Archdiocese of NO to welcome 249 worshipers to church this Easter – Clarion Herald
By BETH DONZE
Remembering the “love and kindness” shown by the Catholics he had met at university some four decades earlier, Bobby Sanson, 59, found himself drawn to Sunday Mass as a observer, receiving explanations on the liturgy from the two Catholic friends who accompanied him. him.
That moving experience turned into a conversation with Father Tim Hedrick, pastor of St. Catherine of Siena Church in Metairie, about how Sanson – a lifelong Baptist – might one day convert to Catholicism.
“He gave me the report card and I signed up for the RCIA classes,” said Sanson, one of nearly 170 future Catholics attending the Sainte-Anne de Métairie church for the March 6 “Rite of election of catechumens and call for the continued conversion of candidates”. », a special welcome prayer service.
This year, 99 “catechumens” (people who are not yet baptized) and 70 “candidates” (already baptized Christians preparing for confirmation and the first eucharist) based on the South Bank publicly announced their decision to enter full communion with the Catholic Church – a journey that will culminate in the Easter Vigil Mass on April 16 in their respective parishes.
Catechumens will receive the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and First Eucharist, while Candidates will receive Confirmation and First Eucharist.
As a sign of the will to become Catholic, each catechumen and candidate was called by name, presented by his godfather or godmother and welcomed individually by Bishop Gregory Aymond at the foot of the altar.
“It is always a very joyful day for us,” the Archbishop said, noting that each person’s faith journey was as individual as their fingerprint and had been guided by many family members, friends, catechists , clergy and religious.
Awaiting their reception of Baptism, Confirmation and the First Eucharist at the Easter Vigil, Bishop Aymond said the catechumens – who would be known as “the elect” after the prayer service – had actively responded to Jesus’ invitation to “come and follow me”. as disciples.
“The waters of baptism (which will be) poured over you by the priest will clothe you as a beloved daughter, a beloved son of God – all your sins forgiven,” he said, noting that their subsequent confirmation would imbue them with “the fullness of the Holy Spirit”, and their reception of the Eucharist would take place “at the family table”.
Addressing candidates – those already baptized people who are seeking full acceptance into the Catholic Church – Bishop Aymond offered his continued prayers for their decision to enter the Catholic Body of Christ.
“In this chapter of your history, you are preparing to make a profession of faith in the Catholic Church during the Easter Vigil,” he told them, encouraging catechumens and candidates to continue to pray, to study and become familiar with the teachings of the Church during the Lenten time of “retreat” leading up to Easter.
“As you move towards the Easter Vigil, stay close to the Lord,” Bishop Aymond said, echoing the words of the Gospel proclaimed minutes earlier. “He is the vine and you are the branches. Without him you can do nothing. Without him you cannot truly prepare to enter the church for a baptism or profession of faith.
The Archbishop, who will travel to the North Shore on March 7 to welcome 40 catechumens and 40 additional candidates to Covington’s Most Holy Trinity Church, said the total of 249 men, women and children entering the church this year marks an increase over last year.
“It is important to note that the church continues to grow,” he said. “The church continues to be more alive and vibrant because of (you).”