WASHINGTON—Dioceses across the country will welcome thousands of people into the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil liturgy on the evening of March 31.
As the culmination of the Easter Triduum, the vigil celebrates the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus. While people can become Catholic at any time of the year, the Easter Vigil is a particularly appropriate moment for adult catechumens to be baptized and for already-baptized Christians to be received into full communion with the Catholic Church.
About 85 of the nearly 200 dioceses across the nation have reported their numbers of catechumens and candidates for full communion to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Based on these numbers, more than 30,000 people are expected to be welcomed into the Church at Easter Vigil Masses this Saturday. For example, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the largest diocese in the United States, will welcome 1,700 catechumens and 1,127 candidates. Among them will be catechumen Tina Robinson. Raised in a Baptist church, Tina eventually started attending a non-denominational church. After she married a cradle Catholic, she prayed to God for guidance. A few days later, Tina received an invitation to attend St. Bernard’s Parish on their front door. “That was my calling,” she said.
The Archdiocese of San Francisco will welcome 173 catechumens and 169 candidates. Among them will be Tina Wok, who had been a nominal member of a non-Christian religion, and Kent Iglehart, who is also preparing for entry into the Catholic Church after his wife, Jacqueline, inspired his conversion. The Diocese of San Diego will welcome a combined 1,091 catechumens and candidates. Among them will be Karrie Johnson. After regular attendance in a Christian church for a number of years, Karrie felt that God might be guiding her toward the Catholic Church. Open to the possibility, she attended Mass for the first time and had the “profound feeling” that she was truly home.
Catechumens, who have never been baptized, will receive Baptism, Confirmation and first Communion at the Holy Saturday Easter Vigil. Candidates, who have already been baptized in another Christian tradition, will enter the Church through a profession of faith and reception of Confirmation and the Eucharist.
In the Archdiocese of Atlanta, the Church will embrace 708 catechumens and 1,280 candidates; while in the Diocese of Charleston, 155 catechumens and 337 candidates will enter the faith.
In other areas:
The Archdiocese of New York will welcome 400 catechumens and 468 candidates, while the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston will welcome 1,536 catechumens and 618 candidates. Other archdioceses and dioceses report numbers as follows: Dallas: 1,139 catechumens, 300 candidates; Fort Worth: 489 catechumens and candidates; Corpus Christi: 126 catechumens, 46 candidates; Tyler: 50 catechumens, 142 candidates; Charlotte: 214 catechumens, 401 candidates; Venice in Florida: 193 catechumens, 205 candidates; St. Petersburg, Florida: 350 catechumens; Richmond: 348 catechumens; Baton Rouge: 154 catechumens, 194 candidates; Lake Charles: 80 catechumens, 93 candidates; Louisville: 200 catechumens, 247 candidates; Lafayette, Louisiana: 50 catechumens, 97 candidates; Shreveport: 39 catechumens, 74 candidates; Lexington: 104 catechumens, 97 candidates; Mobile: 86 catechumens, 187 candidates; Savannah: 95 catechumens, 220 candidates; Pensacola- Tallahassee: 140 catechumens, 126 catechumens; Covington, Kentucky: 78 catechumens, 111 candidates.
The Archdiocese of Seattle reports 664 catechumens and 429 candidates. Other numbers from the western part of the U.S. include: Las Vegas: 148 catechumens, 189 candidates; Salt Lake City: 225 catechumens, 98 candidates; Yakima: 151 catechumens, 37 candidates; Oakland: 174 catechumens, 382 candidates; Fresno: 527 catechumens, 322 candidates; Reno: 57 catechumens, 171 candidates; Pueblo: 76 catechumens, 43 candidates; and the Maronite Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon of Los Angeles with 17 catechumens and candidates. Honolulu is also welcoming 208 catechumens, 41 candidates.
Newark will be welcoming 416 catechumens, 657 candidates; Metuchen, New Jersey: 121 catechumens, 141 candidates; Buffalo: 296 catechumens and candidates; Rochester: 91 catechumens, 176 candidates; Paterson: 119 catechumens; Portland, Maine: 71 catechumens, 62 candidates; Albany: 44 catechumens, 84 candidates; Bridgeport: 46 catechumens, 189 candidates; Hartford: 59 catechumens, 55 candidates; Manchester: 71 catechumens, 95 candidates; Springfield, Massachusetts: 43 catechumens, 76 candidates; Worcester: 107 catechumens, 42 candidates; Fall River: 27 catechumens, 81 candidates.
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia reports: 254 catechumens, 236 candidates; Pittsburgh: 144 catechumens, 309 candidates; Harrisburg: 125 catechumens; Greensburg: 49 catechumens, 65 candidates; the Archdiocese of Washington: 576 catechumens, 237 candidates. Others include: Arlington: 198 catechumens, 461 candidates; Cleveland: 215 catechumens, 248 candidates; Youngstown: 97 catechumens, 145 candidates; Columbus: 200 catechumens, 265 candidates; Wilmington: 81 catechumens; 82 candidates; Green Bay: 101 catechumens and candidates; Fort Wayne-South Bend: 165 catechumens, 184 candidates; Springfield, Illinois: 109 catechumens, 165 candidates; Evansville: 63 catechumens, 110 candidates; Belleville: 55 catechumens, 94 candidates; Des Moines: 98 catechumens, 146 candidates; Jefferson City: 100 catechumens, 127 candidates; Owensboro: 53 catechumens, 156 candidates; Saginaw: 89 catechumens, 63 candidates; Madison; 31 catechumens, 70 candidates; Altoona-Johnstown: 45 catechumens, 52 candidates; La Crosse: 24 catechumens, 61 candidates.
Other dioceses report the following numbers: Saint Paul and Minneapolis: 228 catechumens, 386 candidates; Grand Rapids: 160 catechumens, 210 candidates; Oklahoma City: 239 catechumens, 327 candidates; Kansas City, Kansas: 150 catechumens, 250 candidates; Wichita: 154 catechumens, 206 candidates; Dodge City: 120 catechumens and candidates; Dubuque: 72 catechumens; 120 candidates; Bismarck: 46 catechumens, 111 candidates; Fargo: 19 catechumens, 62 candidates; Sioux City: 21 catechumens, 55 candidates; Gary: 72 catechumens and candidates.
The Archdiocese of Anchorage will also be welcoming 36 catechumens and 32 candidates. The additional dioceses have also reported the following numbers: St. Cloud: 13 catechumens, 43 candidates; New Ulm, Minnesota: 5 catechumens, 46 candidates; Duluth: 16 catechumens, 49 candidates; and Great Falls-Billings: 15 catechumens, 14 candidates.
Photo, Miscellany/Doug Deas: Chris Mennonn, a catechumen from St. Joseph Church in Charleston, signs the Book of the Elect while his sponsor, Charlotte Fennell, looks on during the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion held in February at the start of Lent.