Church Ready to Welcome Thousands to the Faith at Easter Vigil

Dioceses Across US Report High Numbers of Converts

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Thousands of people across the United States will be welcomed into the Catholic Church at this year’s Easter vigil, April 4, including a retired Marine captain who appeared on the cover of National Geographic, a woman from The Gambia now living in the Pacific Northwest and a woman from Pittsburgh whose faith journey has drawn her own mother back to the Church.

According to the 2014 Official Catholic Directory, there were 39,654 catechumens, or those being baptized, confirmed and receiving first Communion, and 66,831 candidates received into full Communion with the Catholic Church in the United States in 2013, the most recent year for which this data is available. Over 50 of the nearly 200 dioceses in the United States reported numbers for 2015 to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

In the Diocese of Oakland, California, Aaron Tam, a retired Marine sergeant, will receive the sacraments of initiation (baptism, confirmation and first Communion) at Easter Vigil, after twice having to delay his initiation into the Church due to deployments. Tam, who was seriously injured by a detonation during a tour of duty in Iraq, appeared on the cover of the February 2015 issue of National Geographic, dedicated to soldiers recovering from traumatic brain injuries. He is one of 349 catechumens in the Diocese of Oakland, along with 279 who are being received into full Communion.

Also in California, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the largest diocese in the United States, reports 1,828 catechumens being baptized this year.

Among the 665 adults to be baptized by the Archdiocese of Seattle, Amie Bensouda of Mary, Queen of Peace Parish in Sammamish, Washington, is a native of The Gambia. She was raised Muslim but exposed to the Catholic faith attending a school run by nuns, the only education available to her as a woman.

Among the 196 catechumens and 383 candidates in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, a woman named Becky is completing the sacraments of initiation after being baptized Catholic but never receiving a formal religious education. Becky will be confirmed and receive first Communion. Becky was accompanied by her fiancé through her journey, and they will be married in August. After she and her fiancé shared their experience with her mother, Becky made her first confession and her mother made her first confession in 25 years, March 16.

Also in Pennsylvania, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia reports 243 catechumens and 404 candidates for full Communion, the Diocese of Harrisburg reports 100 catechumens, and the Diocese of Allentown reports 96 catechumens and 256 candidates. In Ohio, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati reports 395 catechumens and 470 candidates, the Diocese of Columbus reports 232 catechumens and 300 candidates, and the Diocese of Youngstown reports 103 catechumens and 166 candidates.

The Archdiocese of Washington reports 623 catechumens and 694 candidates. The Archdiocese of Baltimore reports 207 catechumens and 400 candidates. The Diocese of Arlington, Virginia, reports 331 catechumens and 373 candidates. The Diocese of Wilmington, Delaware, reports 94 catechumens and 103 candidates.

The Diocese of Raleigh, North Carolina, reports 600 catechumens and 700 candidates. In Florida, the Diocese of St. Petersburg reports 366 catechumens and 589 candidates, the Diocese of Palm Beach reports 228 catechumens and 493 candidates, and the Diocese of Orlando reports 491 catechumens. The Diocese of Savannah, Georgia, reports 126 catechumens and 257 candidates. The Diocese of Charleston, South Carolina, reports 167 catechumens and 325 candidates.

In New York, the Diocese of Brooklyn reports 579 catechumens and 43 candidates, the Diocese of Rochester reports 139 catechumens and 152 candidates, the Diocese of Buffalo reports 86 catechumens and 128 candidates, and the Diocese of Syracuse reports 70 catechumens and 131 candidates. The Diocese of Camden, New Jersey reports 175 catechumens. The Diocese of Fall River, Massachusetts reports 21 catechumens and 33 candidates. The Diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire, reports 85 catechumens and 82 candidates. The Diocese of Providence, Rhode Island reports 75 catechumens and 120 candidates.

In Kentucky, the Archdiocese of Louisville reports 225 catechumens and 296 candidates, and the Diocese of Owensboro reports 74 catechumens and 147 candidates. The Diocese of Knoxville, Tennessee, reports 57 catechumens and 166 candidates. The Diocese of Little Rock reports 226 catechumens and 341 candidates. The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia, reports 141 catechumens and 155 candidates.

In Louisiana, the Diocese of Lafayette reports 82 catechumens and 122 candidates, the Diocese of Shreveport reports 45 catechumens and 87 candidates, and the Diocese of Lake Charles reports 64 catechumens and 118 candidates. The Diocese of Biloxi, Mississippi, reports 76 catechumens and 112 candidates. The Diocese of Austin, Texas, reports 317 catechumens and 419 candidates. The Diocese of Salt Lake City reports 257 catechumens and 142 candidates.

In Illinois, Diocese of Joliet reports 114 catechumens and 196 candidates, and the Diocese of Peoria reports 105 catechumens and 232 candidates. The Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana, reports 208 catechumens and 217 candidates. In Michigan, the Diocese of Grand Rapids reports 190 catechumens and 249 candidates, and the Diocese of Marquette reports 34 catechumens and 42 candidates. The Archdiocese of Milwaukee reports 180 catechumens and 245 candidates. The Diocese of Duluth, Minnesota, reports nine catechumens and 52 candidates. The Diocese of Fargo, North Dakota, reports 18 catechumens and 77 candidates.

The Archdiocese of Omaha, Nebraska, reports 105 catechumens and 250 candidates. The Diocese of Jefferson City, Missouri, reports 90 catechumens and 163 candidates. The Diocese of Dodge City, Kansas, reports 82 catechumens and 56 candidates.

More information on the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) process is available online:

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