Diocesan News

At St. James Cathedral, Special Pentecost for Students

Father Vincentius Do, pastor of St. Agatha, stands next to his confirmandi Prince Zhang, who received the sacrament the same day as his mother standing next to him, Yan Pan, and his sister, Unique. (Photo courtesy Yan Pan)

On the birthday of the Church, seven students gathered at St. James Cathedral-Basilica in Downtown Brooklyn for their own personal Pentecost.

That’s because June 9 marked the day when they made final their decision to become full members of the Catholic Church when they received the sacrament of confirmation and all the graces of the Holy Spirit.

“I want to be part of the Catholic Church so I can be able to help others,” said Triniyalee Wallace, an eighth-grader at St. Teresa of Avila in Crown Heights.

After she was confirmed, the eighth-grader’s hope for the future was simple.

“I want to give joy and help and love,” she said, adding that her biggest influence during her faith formation were two members from her parish, Sister Hazel Dasent and religious education director Brenda Donald.

It was a joyful affair for one mother and her two children who attend St. Agatha in Sunset Park. Yan Pan, her daughter, Unique and  her son, Prince Zhang, were all confirmed that day as a family.

“I wish for the ordinary because I know God has a plan for me,” said Unique, a seventh-grader. “I just hope that I take that plan that He has for me.”

As for her brother, a sophomore at Staten Island Technical H.S., he said he still has much to learn.

“I just want to learn more about God and to finish reading the Bible and learning more about it,” he said.

Concelebrating the Mass alongside retired Auxiliary Bishop Guy Sansaricq and vice chancellor of the Diocese of Brooklyn, Father Peter Purpura,  3was Father Vincentius Do, pastor of St. Agatha, who attended because he was chosen as the two siblings’ sponsor.

“I always look up to him religiously and on a daily basis,” Prince said, “so I think he’s a very good role model for me – that’s why I chose him.”

Bishop Sansaricq confirms a student from St. John’s Prep, Astoria. (Photo: Melissa Enaje)

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The diocese holds two confirmation celebrations, one in each borough, strictly for those high school students who were baptized, received their first communion, but didn’t complete confirmation.

Most completed their sacramental prep at their Catholic high school.

But according to Christian Rada, the diocese’s director of marriage, family formation and respect life education, only one high school student from St. John’s Prep in Astoria was scheduled to receive the sacrament at St. James. Because only one student was set for confirmation, the decision was made to include high school students from local parishes.

In early May, Auxiliary Bishop Raymond Chappetto celebrated the confirmation Mass at St. Kevin’s Church in Flushing for students who either lived in Queens or attended a Catholic high school there.

Rada added that the high school students do most of the sacramental prep at their school with their religious education program coordinator who prepares the students to receive the sacrament through faith formation. Students also receive further instruction from their home parishes.

“It’s a great way for the students to take a hold of their faith by actually reaffirming that this is what they want, this is what they believe,” Rada said. “It’s a beautiful sign for the Church.”