.- Thousands of people will join the Catholic Church in the United States on Holy Saturday, April 7, having followed the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). Thousands more will be welcomed into the Church on the same day around the world, a press release from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has announced.
Adults will enter the church in every one of the country’s 195 dioceses and in virtually every one of the nation’s nearly 19,000 parishes.
In the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the nation’s largest archdiocese, 1,294 people are catechumens, which means they will be baptized. Another 1,500 people are candidates, which means they will either be confirmed or be received into full communion with the Catholic Church, having been baptized in another Christian denomination.
Some of the largest groups coming into the church are in the Archdiocese of Detroit, which is welcoming 612 catechumens and 913 candidates. In the Diocese of San Diego, there are 851 catechumens and 1,036 candidates. The Archdiocese of Atlanta reports 457 will be baptized and 631 received into full communion. In the Archdiocese of Seattle, there will be 636 catechumens baptized and 520 candidates welcomed.
The catechumens and candidates come from a variety of faiths and cultural groups. They range in age from teens to seniors. Each faith journey is unique.
One priest in the Archdiocese of Washington is preparing his father to join the Church. Fr. Scott Woods, parochial vicar at Mt. Calvary Church, Forestville, Maryland, joined the Catholic Church in the ninth grade while a student at Archbishop Carroll High School. His father, James Woods, a former Baptist, began learning about the Catholic faith around the time of his son’s conversion and recently formalized his faith formation. Fr. Woods was ordained a priest five years ago and will preside over his first Easter Vigil when his father is welcomed into full communion with the Church.
In the Diocese of Austin, high school junior Meghan Avery is joining the Catholic Church after enrolling at a Catholic high school. She was baptized in the Presbyterian Church. While helping a family friend at a Catholic Bible camp, she befriended a Catholic teen who encouraged her to enroll in Holy Trinity Catholic High School last fall. Prior to changing schools she read up on Catholicism, then grew even closer to the faith while attending Mass at her new school.
An entire family of 10 is eagerly anticipating reception into the church at St. Anne Catholic Church in the Diocese of Wichita. They grew interested in the Church when Jennifer Eastman, 29 weeks pregnant with her daughter, Victoria, was admitted to Via Christi-St. Joseph Hospital. There, she prayed the rosary for the first time while watching the EWTN Global Catholic Network. Less than a week after delivering Victoria, the entire family attended its first Mass together. Jennifer and her husband say they had considered becoming Catholic for some time and wanted to help their children grow spiritually. They found added appeal in the church’s universality.
The 2006 Official Catholic Directory reported 80,817 adults baptized in the Catholic Church and 73,684 coming into full communion in 2006. In addition, there were 943,264 infant baptisms.