150,000 in U.S. entering the Church

AMERICA/UNITED STATES - Thousands entering the Catholic Church this Easter, from all across the country
Washington (Agenzia Fides) – According to statistics provided by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, during 2009, nearly 150,000 people will be entering the Catholic Church. This number includes both the catechumens, who will receive the Sacraments of Christian Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, and the Holy Eucharist) and Christians who will enter into full communion with the Catholic Church. The majority of them will do so during the Easter Vigil celebrated on April 11 in parishes throughout the country. The various parishes are preparing for the Easter Liturgy which is filled with symbolism and that will welcome the neophites (“newly baptized”) and those entering into full communion, to their new community of faith and the entire Church, from darkness into light.In several cases, the numbers show growth and vitality in the Catholic Church in areas in which it had previously been a minority. For example, the Archdiocese of Atlanta estimates that 513 catechumens and 2,195 candidates will join the ranks of the Archdiocese in 2009. About 1,800 of them will do so at Easter. These numbers do not include infant baptisms, which are recorded separately. Catechumens are people who have never been baptized. Candidates are those who have received baptism in another Christian community and are seeking full communion with the Catholic Church. "The Archdiocese of Atlanta is in a part of the country with a large non-Catholic population, and has been blessed with an authentic dynamism during recent years, which is perhaps best expressed in our annual Eucharistic Congress, which draws some 30,000 participants. One of the many blessings that we have received from the Lord is the large number of individuals entering the Church," said Father Theodore Book, director of the Office of Divine Worship for the Atlanta Archdiocese.On the opposite side of the country the Archdiocese of Seattle will welcome 736 catechumens and 506 candidates for a total of 1,242 new members; and the Diocese of San Diego will baptize 305 new members and welcome 920 other baptized Christians adding a total of 1,225 to its ranks. Cincinnati will welcome a total of 1,130 new members. The Diocese of Birmingham, in a mainly rural area, will welcome a total of 445.Heidi Sierras, of California, will be representing the people of North America at the Easter Vigil in St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, and will be baptized by Pope Benedict XVI. Nationwide, the 2008 Official Catholic Directory lists 49,415 adult baptisms and 87,363 people coming into full communion in 2007. (RG) (Agenzia Fides 1/4/2009)

No comments: