At ‘mother of all vigils,’ U.S. church welcomes thousands of new Catholics

Green Bay Diocese welcomes newly initiated

WASHINGTON — During what the Roman Missal describes as the “mother of all vigils,” the U.S. Catholic Church welcomed thousands of new Catholics at the Easter Vigil April 15 in churches big and small across the country.

The newly baptized receive their baptismal candles during the Easter Vigil April 16 at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Triangle Va. Thousands of new Catholics joined the Catholic Church during the Easter Vigil at churches around the U.S. (CNS photo | Octavio Duran)

About 60 of the nearly 200 dioceses in the United States reported numbers of catechumens and candidates entering the church in 2017 to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington.

Catechumens receive the sacraments of initiation — baptism, confirmation and first Communion — during the Easter Vigil, having prepared for this moment through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. Candidates, who are already baptized, also go through the preparation program to receive confirmation and first Communion to enter full communion with the church.

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the largest diocese in the United States, welcomed 1,756 catechumens and 938 candidates, while the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston reported 1,667 catechumens and 708 candidates. The Archdiocese of Seattle had 679 catechumens and 409 candidates, the Archdiocese of Miami had 524 catechumens and 214 candidates, and the Archdiocese of Washington reported 483 catechumens and 698 candidates.

See list of local Catholics who entered the church at Easter Vigil

Not far behind was the Diocese of Brooklyn, New York, which reported 387 catechumens and 528 candidates.

The Tablet, Brooklyn’s diocesan newspaper, said that the numbers of new Catholics entering the church and those seeking full communion in the church were so staggering that the diocese had to hold two different ceremonies for the Rite of Election in early March.

On Holy Saturday, at the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Brooklyn, the “greatest and most noble of all solemnities” took a little longer than usual this year. In addition to the dramatic symbols of light and the seven Old Testament readings, 52 catechumens and 25 candidates were welcomed into the church.

“Now that I am an adult, I better understand my call to faith. I have a responsibility to cooperate with my faith in God,” said Kari Morales, a native of Mexico, who was joining the church at Easter. “I’ve heard a lot of misconceptions about the church,” added Morales, a psychologist at a public school. “There’s a lot of negativity out there. The period of preparation opened my eyes to the truth.”

In the Diocese of Rochester, New York, the RCIA involvement of Dan and Michaela Cady — along with their sons Aidan, 15, Solas, 12, and Merritt, 10 — was spurred by a family tragedy. Two years ago, their daughter and sister Kennis, then 12, died unexpectedly.

“It just turned our heads about life,” Dan Cady said. He added that his family was grateful for the support it received from the staff of St. Jerome Parish in East Rochester, and from there opted to pursue RCIA. Dan said he was confident that his daughter was watching over the family as they continue on their faith journey.

“We would like to think it’s orchestrated by her,” he said. Some of the family members received the sacraments this year, and others will next year. Overall, the Diocese of Rochester this year reported 96 catechumens and 149 candidates.

Elsewhere in New York state, the Diocese of Rockville Centre reported 232 catechumens and 327 candidates; the Diocese of Buffalo had 56 catechumens and 105 candidates; and the Diocese of Syracuse had 49 catechumens and 70 candidates.

Jarrid Perusse of Most Precious Blood Parish in Oviedo, Florida, said that while he was in Orlando, Florida, he “got saved on a porch” during a summer internship as a door-to-door salesman. He realized that God was reaching out to him, and “it was my turn to start reaching back,” Perusse said.

In the Diocese of Grand Rapids, Michigan, 175 catechumens and 249 candidates received the sacraments. Among them, Mac, 90, and Barb Harless, 85, joined the church this Easter after finding their parish, St. John Paul II Church in Cedar Springs, Michigan, to be a source of prayer, peace and hope during Barb’s battle with cancer.

Other archdioceses reported the following totals: Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, 201 catechumens and 623 candidates; Archdiocese of Philadelphia, 235 catechumens and 322 candidates; Archdiocese of Louisville, Kentucky, 227 catechumens and 279 candidates; Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, 290 catechumens and 368 candidates; Archdiocese of San Francisco, 174 catechumens and 207 candidates; Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey, 499 catechumens and 693 candidates; and the Archdiocese of Dubuque, Iowa, 63 catechumens and 94 candidates.

In California, the Diocese of Stockton welcomed 284 candidates and 532 catechumens; the Diocese of Oakland, 176 catechumens and 376 candidates; the Diocese of San Diego, 333 catechumens and 635 candidates; the Diocese of Fresno, 593 catechumens and 56 candidates; and the Diocese of San Jose, 496 catechumens and candidates.

In Florida, the Diocese of St. Petersburg had 456 catechumens and 514 candidates; the Diocese of Orlando, 586 catechumens and candidates; and the Diocese of Palm Beach, 147 catechumens and 474 candidates.

Other dioceses reporting hundreds of catechumens and candidates included: Diocese of Dallas, 945 catechumens and 1,230 candidates; Diocese of Little Rock, Arkansas, 252 catechumens and 324 candidates; Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana, 187 catechumens and 208 candidates; Diocese of Salt Lake City, 273 catechumens and 153 candidates; Diocese of Trenton, New Jersey, 200 catechumens and 508 candidates; Diocese of Charleston, South Carolina, 160 catechumens and 317 candidates; Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut, 78 catechumens and 241 candidates; Diocese of Jefferson City, Missouri, 106 catechumens and 172 candidates; Diocese of Tucson, Arizona, 111 candidates and 209 catechumens; Diocese of Youngstown, Ohio, 97 catechumens and 130 candidates; Diocese of Worcester, Massachusetts, 114 catechumens and 101 candidates; Diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire, 95 candidates and 67 catechumens; Diocese of Belleville, Illinois, 54 catechumens and 120 candidates; the Diocese of Duluth, Minnesota, 11 catechumens and 69 candidates.


Parishes in Green Bay Diocese welcome new members

The following neophytes (newly baptized) and already baptized candidates participated in the 2017 Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion for the Diocese of Green Bay and were received into the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil.

NEOPHYTES (Newly Baptized Adults)

St Bernadette, Appleton

Jacob Bootz

Joy Sarino

St. Pius X, Appleton

Emily Maddison Bakey

St. Therese, Appleton

Coral Bricco

Christianna Callahan

Tiffany Flores

Franco Omwere

Immaculate Conception, Florence

Adrianna Thompson

Logan Thompson

Caleb Donaldson

Brody Donaldson

Lynelle Thomas

St. Agnes, Green Bay

Brittany Ann Budrawich

Charles E. Gullifer

Resurrection, Green Bay

Regan Vai Curran

St. Francis Xavier Cathedral, Green Bay

Misty Wouters

St. John the Baptist, Howard/Green Bay

Elizabeth Rose Woodworth

St. Philip the Apostle, Green Bay

Isaac Agustin Cadena

Maribel Julia Cadena

Miguel Rodriguez

Cristopher Cadena

Hortencia Hernandez

St. Willebrord, Green Bay

Andrea Jimenez

Shantay Camacho-Vierra

William Alfaro-Perez

Gabriel Alfaro-Perez

Daniel Perez-Alfaro

Dominick Jimenez

Yasmin Camacho-Vierra

Dalziel Rodriguez

Kyleigha Demeny

Atielia Mendez

Mateos Mendez

Kailly Hatcher

Sergio Jimenez

Shaleen Vierra

Silvia Zepeda

Christina Strom

Holy Rosary, Kewaunee

Zakory Wade Niemierowicz

Michael Jared Cracraft

Holy Spirit, Kimberly

Scott Merzlicker

St. Anne, Lena / Coleman

Sarah Denor

St. Mary & St. John the Baptist, Menasha

Derick Plowden

St. Margaret Mary, Neenah

Preston Huss

St. Jude the Apostle, Oshkosh

Riley DeLap

Zachery DeLap

Arianna Hoefgen

Charlotte Labus

Adri Yakaites

St. Raphael, Oshkosh

Lydia L. Holzer

Mallory F. Holzer

Henry T. Holzer

Logan Holzer

Choua Lang

Sacred Heart, Shawano

Terry Bluemke

Laura Heineman

Lori Kazik

Jeff Kroenke

Auleshia Martinez

Eric Ready

Nanette Steinbock

Nicole Willcome

Diane Wright

Marissa Defoe

Heather Gorski

St. John – Sacred Heart, Sherwood

Matthew Nelson

St. Patrick/St. Anthony/Holy Trinity, Stiles/Oconto Falls/Oconto

Shawn Seager

St. Benedict, Suamico

Courtney Davies

St. Mary Magdalene, Waupaca

Kyle Connell

St. Michael, Whitelaw

Aaron Puta

Holy Family-St. William, Wittenberg

Derian Jimenez Abundiz

Andy Jimenez Abundiz


St Thomas More, Appleton

Christopher James Ferguson

St. Pius X, Appleton

William Anthony Lewandowski

Alexandria Nicole Lewandowski

Margaret Ann Lewandowski

Connor James Lewandowski

Lexa Danielle Perez

Lezly Jaylyn Perez

Luce Dominique  Perez

Natalia Nevaeh Sommers

Josef Saunders

Veronica Saunders

Larry Lambie

John Francio Sanchez

Danielle Cloghessy

Joyce Ellen Burke

Kayla Marie St. Marie

St. Therese, Appleton

Franco Omwere

Saint Joseph, Appleton

Matthew Follen

Elizabeth Wockenfus

Heather Keddell

Ashley Baumgart

St. Pius X, Appleton

Barbara Ann Boylan

St Bernadette, Appleton

Mackenzie Bootz

David Bootz

St. Paul, Combined Locks

Angela Marie Jacobs

Immaculate Conception, Florence

Richard Nichols

St. Francis Xavier Cathedral, Green Bay

Beau James

Nicholas Kaster

Marc Minani

St. Willebrord, Green Bay

Maliq Mendez

Javier Mendez

Jamie Demeny

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Green Bay

Aaron Lancelle

Dan Panosh

St. Bernard, Green Bay

Octavio Guzman

Richard McNutt

Prince of Peace, Green Bay

Mary Edmondson

St. Philip the Apostle, Green Bay

Maria de la Luz Gonzalez

Neil Rowell

Elsa Reyes-Perez

Resurrection, Green Bay

Zachary Krueger

Clarissa Charles

Ken Knoch

Sarah Inman

Jessica Bainbridge

Ben Plaza

Melissa Lund Ziegler

Michael Lund Ziegler

St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception, Greenville

Ryan Paschke

Savanna Kaster

Josh Turner

Tekla Kilpatrick

St. John the Baptist, Howard/Green Bay

Eyan Matthew Guyette

Bethany Froelich

Melanie Joy Wempe

Holy Rosary, Kewaunee

Breyden Michael Wessel

Joshua David Wessel

Timothy Lee Kinjerski

Holy Spirit, Kimberly

Jaclyn Monfort

St. Mary & St. John the Baptist, Menasha

Carolyn Lehner

Terry Stumpf

William Blair II

St. Margaret Mary, Neenah

Karla Berzowski

David DeWitt

Stephanie Emenecker

Megan Gerald

Jyll Scanlan

Karrie Schuh

Hesper Swanlund

Andrew Swokowski

St. Gabriel, Neenah

Sherman Frisbie

St. Mary, Omro and Winneconne

Kevin Michael Abraham

Daniel Edwin Chelmo

Jamie Marie McElroy

St. Raphael, Oshkosh

James Nozar III

Isaac Krents

Logan Nebl

Gabriel Perez

Jack Leggett

Trevor Krentz

Holly Krentz

Shannon Gibson

Mark  Scheer

Sara Miller

Tracy Scott

Stacy Potratz

Karlie Sawitski

Daniel Boehnlein

Most Blessed Sacrament, Oshkosh

Jessica Bergmann

Peter Hernet

Marlene Martinez

Jennifer Mark

Kayla Penshorn

Mitch Washebek

St. Jude the Apostle, Oshkosh

Paige Anunson

Candace Bahr

Beth Moen

St. John – Sacred Heart, Sherwood

Jolene Sweere

St. Patrick/St.Anthony/Holy Trinity, Stiles/Oconto Falls/Oconto

Erica Lane

Danielle Perrizo

Sabrina McDonald

St. Peter the Fisherman, Two Rivers

Kyle Cook

St. Mary Magdalene, Waupaca

Sarah Brumer

Tammie Rau

Justine Vaughan

  • James B

    This is good, but then why are so many churches still closing?