WASHINGTON—Thousands of people across the United States will enter the Catholic Church on Easter Vigil, March 26. Among them, many dioceses are welcoming entire families who, inspired by each other, want to receive the sacraments.
The Archdiocese of Baltimore will usher in 292 catechumens and 516 candidates, among them, a 14-year-old parishioner who found her Catholic faith while battling cancer. Her godparents and neighbors set up a prayer group and invited her to their parish. This Easter Vigil she will receive the sacraments along with her mother and two siblings. Her father will also complete his initiation process soon.
Pamela Morrison, a parishioner in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, says her journey of conversion took some time and was led by the Holy Spirit. She, along with her husband, will receive the sacraments of baptism, confirmation and the Eucharist on Easter Vigil.
“I already knew this is where I belonged, but it has been an added blessing for my husband to be coming into the Catholic Church with me,” Morrison said.
The journey to the Catholic faith for the Sims family began with their daughter, a second-grader who attends Catholic school, who told her father she wanted to be baptized. Anthony and his wife, Kimberly, decided to support their daughter as a family. This Easter Vigil, the family of five will join 419 catechumens and 581 candidates who will be receiving the sacraments in the Archdiocese of Detroit.
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 whose baptism is recognized by the Catholic Church, will enter the Church through a profession of faith and reception of confirmation and Eucharist.
About 80 of the nearly 200 dioceses in the United States reported numbers for 2016 to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, including the Diocese of Charleston, S.C., with 169 catechumens, 310 candidates.
The Archdiocese of New York will welcome about 497 catechumens and 1,116 candidates while the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the largest diocese in the United States, will welcome 1,638 new Catholics.
Other Archdioceses report numbers as follows: Cincinnati: 880 candidates and catechumens; Philadelphia: 245 catechumens, 345 candidates; Boston: 235 candidates, 321 catechumens; Santa Fe, New Mexico: 268 catechumens, 287 candidates; Louisville, Kentucky: 250 candidates, 214 catechumens; New Orleans: 174 catechumens, 217 candidates; Omaha, Nebraska: 133 catechumens, 275 candidates; Hartford: 116 catechumens, 268 candidates; and San Francisco will initiate 400.
In New York, the Diocese of Rochester will welcome 121 catechumens and 165 candidates, the Diocese of Rockville Centre reports 240 catechumens and 269 candidates, the Diocese of Ogdensburg reports 21 catechumens and 18 candidates, the Diocese of Albany reports 47 catechumens and 73 candidates, and the diocese of Syracuse will welcome 64 catechumens and 105 candidates. While in New Jersey, the Diocese of Metuchen reports 28 candidates and 122 catechumen, the Diocese of Trenton reports 195 catechumens and 433 candidates, and the Diocese of Paterson reports 136 catechumens.
In Texas, the Diocese of Fort Worth reports 587 candidates and 626 catechumens, and the Diocese of Austin reports 359 catechumens and 393 candidates. In California, the Diocese of Orange will welcome 915 catechumens and 622 candidates, and the Diocese of Stockton will welcome 360 catechumens and 217 candidates. The Diocese of Raleigh, North Carolina will welcome 383 catechumens and 255 candidates, and the Diocese of Little Rock, Arkansas will welcome 348 candidates and 322 catechumens.
In Florida, the Diocese of St. Petersburg reports 432 catechumens and 442 candidates, the Diocese of St. Augustine reports 227 catechumens and 425 candidates, and the Diocese of Palm Beach reports 154 catechumens and 495 candidates. The Diocese of Lake Charles in Louisiana reports 59 catechumens and 101 candidates, the Diocese of Scranton, Pennsylvania, reports 69 catechumens and 115 candidates, the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut, reports 90 catechumens and 168 candidates, and the Diocese of Fall River, Massachusetts, reports 41 catechumens and 26 candidates.
In Ohio, the Diocese of Columbus reports 224 catechumens and 211 candidates, the Diocese of Cleveland reports 223 catechumens and 182 candidates, the Diocese of Youngstown reports 103 catechumens and 166 candidates, and the Diocese of Steubenville reports 39 catechumens and 84 candidates. The Diocese of Marquette, Michigan, reports 20 catechumens and 48 candidates, the Diocese of Grand Rapids, Michigan, reports 162 catechumens and 208 candidates, the Diocese of Dodge City, Kansas, reports 100 catechumens and 69 candidates, the Diocese of Spokane, Washington, reports 21 catechumens and 45 candidates, the Diocese of Bismarck, North Dakota, reports 46 catechumens and 114 candidates.
Other diocese reporting hundreds of catechumens and candidates include: Peoria, Illinois: 93 catechumens, 265 candidates; Mobile, Alabama: 100 catechumens, 171 candidates; La Crosse, Wisconsin: 50 catechumens, 150 candidates; Biloxi, Mississippi: 81 catechumens, 126 candidates; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: 141 catechumens, 70 candidates; Knoxville, Tennessee: 86 catechumens, 182 candidates; Richmond, Virginia: 365 catechumens; Manchester, New Hampshire: 90 catechumens, 25 candidates; Lafayette-in-Indiana: 167 catechumens, 146 candidates; Jefferson City, Missouri: 122 catechumens, 163 candidates; Wichita, Kansas: 164 catechumens, 203 candidates; Joliet, Illinois: 176 candidates, 129 catechumens; Shreveport, Louisiana: 39 catechumens, 86 candidates; Springfield-Cape Girardeau, Missouri: 162 candidates, 86 catechumens; Honolulu: 185 catechumens; Allentown, Pennsylvania: 99 catechumens, 219 candidates; Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia: 134 catechumens, 145 candidates; Providence, Rhode Island: 54 catechumens, 387 candidates.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Photo by Jeff Blake/Miscellany