Diocese baptizes 363 new Catholics
PROSPECT HEIGHTS — Saturday night was a dream come true for Christie St. Juste. Not only did she participate in the Easter Vigil at the Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph, but she was also baptized into the Catholic faith.
Bishop Brennan praised the newcomers for their decision to join the Church at this time.
In all, 363 people were baptized into the faith at churches across the Diocese of Brooklyn, according to the Office of Evangelization and Catechesis. The number of people who had previously been baptized and who received communion and confirmation was 207.
“I feel like I am part of something much bigger than myself, and I feel united with everyone here,” St. Juste said.
The baptism of St. Juste and four other people was the emotional high point of the Easter Vigil celebrated by Bishop Robert Brennan.
The Mass, which began after sundown in keeping with tradition, started with the lights turned off and the co-cathedral engulfed in darkness. A Paschal Candle was lit, and from the flame of that one candle, all of the small candles held by members of the congregation were also lit.
The moment symbolized Jesus Christ bringing His light into the world.
“We’re announcing the greatest news of all time,” Bishop Brennan said.
It was a life-changing night for the five people who were welcomed into the faith through baptism as well as six others who had already been baptized Catholic and were now receiving the sacraments of communion and confirmation.
Those who were baptized also received communion and were confirmed that night.
They had all successfully completed the Diocese of Brooklyn’s Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) program or had taken part in faith formation classes to arrive at this moment.
St. Juste, who was born in Haiti and raised as a Seventh Day Adventist, was happy with her spiritual life but wanted to make a change.
“I wanted to be even closer to God,” she said. Still, she was unsure about becoming a Catholic until she did a great deal of research into the faith.
“I looked at the facts and the history. This is a beautiful, welcoming church,” she said.
Jhan Checo, 13, decided he wanted to join the faith after reading the Bible at age 10. He focused his attention on the Gospels, finding them compelling and experiencing a revelation — even at his young age. “The Lord is the way forward in my life,” he said.
Prior to the Mass, he confessed to being a little nervous but said he was looking forward to his baptism and confirmation.
Bishop Brennan walked through the co-cathedral sprinkling holy water on the congregation — using the same water from the baptismal font where the five new Catholics had been baptized minutes earlier.
The night also provided an opportunity for those who were born Catholic to strengthen their commitment to their faith. “It does feel like a renewal,” said Dawn Aiello, who attended the vigil with her family.