Despite the recent media attacks on the Church and Holy Father regarding clergy sex abuse scandals, one U.S. archdiocese set a record for confirming the most individuals in its history to the Catholic faith.
On Saturday, the Archdiocese of Baltimore confirmed a record 1,090 adults to the faith at the Easter Vigil Mass in parishes throughout the area, breaking the archdiocesan record for a second year in a row, reported the Baltimore Sun on April 4.
“We're on a roll, I guess,” said Archbishop Edwin O'Brien to the Baltimore Sun. Although the bishop said he would like to credit the archdiocesan staff for the record numbers, “the rubber hits the road in the parishes,” he explained. “It's there where we find the real life of the Church.”
Local parishioner Rich Foster, 59, told the Baltimore Sun that the recently surfaced sex abuse scandals within the Church in the U.S. and Europe and the subsequent media attack on the Holy Father did not affect his decision to become Catholic.
“It reflects the frailties of all of us humans,” Foster said on Sunday. “We all have sinned … Part of what the church teaches us is reconciliation, redemption, and forgiveness.” An attendee of New All Saints Church in Baltimore, Foster described his church as “a congregation that I see doing wonderful work in terms of giving back to the community, being open and welcoming to both church members and the outside community.”
“I think that outweighs to me any concerns that may arise in this current controversy,” he added. “I trust my church will go forward in a righteous manner, dealing with these issues directly.”
The record 1,090 individuals confirmed on Saturday surpasses the 984 confirmed in 2009. According to Sharon Bogusz, coordinator of evangelization and adult catechesis for the Baltimore Archdiocese, approximately one quarter of those confirmed were the newly baptized. Others were baptized Catholic as infants but did not receive further sacraments and the majority of those confirmed were from others Christian backgrounds whose baptisms the Church recognizes.
“It's wonderful,” Bogusz told the Baltimore Sun, “our parishes are really doing a lot of hard work and sharing news and welcome.”