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New Catholics featured in Easter television special

.- This Easter Sunday promises good Catholic programming with the broadcast of a moving one-hour special on the adult spiritual journey. "Come to the Water: The Adult Journey to Baptism" will introduce viewers to some people who became Catholics through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) in the Archdiocese of Seattle last year.

The documentary follows people through the yearlong program of adult education and initiation into the Catholic community, culminating with their baptism by immersion at the Easter Vigil. It was taped on location at Seattle's St. James Cathedral.

The reasons these people chose to join the Catholic Church are varied, says Helen Oesterle, RCIA program director at St. James.

She said about 20 percent of the group were either marrying or married to a Catholic. "We also have people who come because a co-worker or friend is Catholic and they just started going to Mass with them," she said. Among them are former atheists, Buddhists, Jews and Protestants from various traditions.

Archbishop Alexander J. Brunett of Seattle says the emotion is intense as each one enters the baptistery.

"I take each of them by the hand and you can feel the different reaction," says Archbishop Brunett. "You can feel people who are actually shaking, you know, and so excited, and some of them so tense because this has got to be a very big moment; they've really worked toward this moment."

The program is scheduled to air Easter Sunday, March 27, at the discretion of ABC-TV affiliate stations. A list of stations and broadcasts will be available on the USCCB Web site (www.usccb.org) in mid-March.

The documentary was produced by New Group Media of South Bend, Indiana, for the USCCB’s Catholic Communication Campaign.

Last year, more than 150,000 Americans joined the Catholic Church on Holy Saturday through the RCIA.

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