"It shows that
the faith is growing and that we can see beyond the controversy that
God works in wonderful ways," Diane Jarvis, director of religious
education at St. Patrick's Church in Lawrence, Massachusetts told the
Patrick's, the 26 new members ranged in age, from 10 to 60. It was
largest group of converts in the past four years. The new members
include people with special needs. The parish offers religious
education for people with disabilities.
Pfifferling, 37, and her 12-year-old daughter Courtney were among those
receiving first Communion at St. John the Baptist Church in Haverhill.
Pfifferling told the Eagle-Tribune that the scandal led her to postpone
her decision to join the church. But she lost her fear and changed her
mind after meeting Fr. Keith LeBlanc, pastor at St. John’s, who made
her feel at ease.
"It's a powerful
witness to those who are cradle Catholics to see how non-Christians or
those of no faith tradition at all make a definite choice to establish
a relationship with Christ," Fr. Robert Couto of St. Jude Parish in
Londonderry, N.H., told the Eagle-Tribune. Fourteen people became
Catholic at St. Jude’s this year.
became a Catholic over at St. Michael Parish in North Andover. He was
raised Methodist, but his wife, Mary, is Catholic, and their four
children are being raised Catholics.
"For me, the most important thing is to share the Eucharist with my family," he told the newspaper.
Wolfe said he
was never deterred by the abuse scandal. “Even though we went through a
rough time, I knew it was a small portion of the church that needed to
be corrected. I had faith and confidence," he was quoted as saying.
New England states welcomed the largest number of new Catholics this
Easter Vigil since the priest sex abuse scandal broke four years ago.
The Archdiocese of Boston welcomed 500 new members while the Diocese of
Manchester, N.H., welcomed 400, reported the Eagle-Tribune newspaper.