TAYLORS — This spring is shaping up as a very special one for Jillian Nutter.
The 23-year-old Clemson resident plans to get married on the last day of May, about two months after she is baptized into the Catholic faith.
Nutter is one of hundreds of catechumens and candidates throughout the Diocese of Charleston currently participating in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.
In connection with the first Sunday of Lent, Msgr. Martin T. Laughlin, diocesan administrator, celebrated the Rite of Election with the catechumens and candidates in the deaneries, including a celebration Feb. 8 in the Piedmont deanery at Prince of Peace Church in Taylors. One hundred and nine catechumens, candidates, godparents and sponsors attended.
Nutter is a catechumen at St. Andrew in Clemson.
A recent graduate of Clemson University, Nutter said her upcoming marriage to a Catholic motivated her to seriously explore Catholicism as her chosen faith.
“I have been dating my fiancée since we were 15 years old,” she said.
Nutter said she did not grow up in a religious family, but she attends Mass with her husband-to-be.
“I have been drawn to the Catholic faith for many years now, but this is the first time in my life I have had some down time to really undertake the RCIA process,” Nutter said.
Twenty-two catechumens and their godparents from the Piedmont deanery were presented to Msgr. Laughlin at the event.
After the catechumens and godparents were announced by representatives from their parishes, Msgr. Laughlin offered their names for enrollment, at which time they each signed the Book of the Elect.
Following that presentation, 87 candidates and their sponsors were presented to Msgr. Laughlin in the Call to Continuing Conversion. Again, each candidate and sponsor was announced and the candidates proceeded to the baptismal font where they blessed themselves with holy water.
In his homily, Msgr. Laughlin told the catechumens and candidates that in beginning this “journey in faith, the faith that you seek is a faith that brings you closer to our Lord, Jesus Christ.”
“In your communion with him, you are called then to find the great gift of the Holy Spirit and the great gift that God is your father who loves us and who cares for us,” Msgr. Laughlin said.
He told the candidates and catechumens that the next several weeks will be weeks of “intense preparation for yourselves — a time of study and a time of prayer.”
He said, “If you embrace this faith, then you must remember the words of our Lord Jesus that you must always be prepared to deny yourself, take up your cross daily and follow him.
“Reflect upon this great gift; reflect upon what you are doing and do not take your faith lightly,” Msgr. Laughlin said. “I pray for you and the church prays for you in this holy time.”
The RCIA process follows the ancient practice of the church. It was restored by the Second Vatican Council as the accepted way adults prepare for baptism. In 1974, the RCIA was formally approved for use in the United States.
The days of Lent mark the final period of purification and enlightenment for RCIA participants, leading up to the celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation at the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday.
Nutter, who also plans to enroll in graduate school this summer, said that by becoming a Catholic she and her fiancée will be able to start their married life together “in the same spiritual direction.”