Saturday, April 08, 2006

This Year's Intake

A week from tonight, on the cusp of Easter, the church around the world welcomes its converts and adults completing their initiation.

To everyone involved in adult catechesis and RCIA out there, God love you for the work you do. And if any Catechumens and Candidates happen to be reading, in the name of us all, every good wish and warmest welcome to the big tent -- this coming week will change your life in many wonderful ways, and we greet you with our heartfelt prayers and closeness in spirit.

Here's a snapshot of the US receptions:

The complete number of adults being baptized or coming into Full Communion in 2006 was not available by April 6. According to early figures from the 2006 Official Catholic Directory, in 2005 80,521 adults were baptized in the Catholic Church and 73,296 came into Full Communion. In addition, there were 940,194 infant baptisms.

Martin White, CEO of MDU Resources, a Fortune 500 company with earnings over one billion dollars last year, will enter the church through the Diocese of Bismarck, North Dakota. He attends St. Joseph Church in Mandan. White and his wife Sheila prepared for entering the church with the Benedictine Sisters at the University of Mary, Bismarck, where he will soon become dean of the college's newly established school of business. White has served on the St. Joseph parish council.

Three generations of women will come into Full Communion in the Catholic Church at the Easer Vigil liturgy in Our lady of Grace Church in Minot, North Dakota. There Mary Lund, her daughter-in-law Lory Lund, and her granddaughter Tami Voeller will be confirmed. Barb Voeller will be Confirmation sponsor for her sister-in-law Lory Lund.

In rural Richfield, Utah, St. Elizabeth Parish, which has three missions and draws parishioners from a 6,700 square mile area, has eight elect preparing to enter the church. One is an 87-year-old man whose daughter and family joined the church a few years ago; another is a young woman who was deeply touched by what she saw on television at the time of Pope John Paul II's death, and another is a 19-year-old man who graduated from high school last year.

The response to Pope John Paul's death also touched Diannah Hedgebeth, who will be make a profession of faith, confirmed and receive First Eucharist at St. Michael's Church in Newark, New Jersey. She had been on a religious quest for a couple years, she said, and recognized her call to the Catholic Church as she watched events surrounding the dying of Pope John Paul.

"The moment his death was announced God spoke to me and told me that's where I belonged," she said.

Another searcher, Stacey Karpp, who attended the RCIA program at San Felipe de Neri Parish near Albuquerque, also spoke of feeling at home in the Catholic Church. She was adopted and raised Jewish but did not feel comfortable in the Jewish religion and later learned that her birth mother was Catholic. While praying for guidance during a quest to find the religion where she belonged, she said the answer exploded in her mind: "Be who you are." She will be baptized Holy Saturday.