Wearing a bright purple ruffled dress, Santia Ali, age 6, was literally dancing in the aisle of the Cathedral of Christ the Light on March 8 after the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion.
During the ceremony, the name of each catechumen and candidate was read aloud by a parish representative. As they stood, Bishop Barber, who was seated in a chair in front of the altar, turned to each and acknowledged them.
Several rows of the cathedral were filled with parishioners from Holy Spirit in Fremont, where Deacon Bill Drobick, director of religious education, interviews those inquiring about coming into the Catholic Church.
The parish had 19 catechumens, one person to be welcomed and a dozen to be recognized. In addition, 16 adults have been confirmed.
"Pope Francis is the biggest reason," Deacon Drobick said. "Bishop Barber has the same kind of pastoral soul."
Deacon Drobick also credits Roma Downey's Bible TV series, and EWTN commentators such as Colleen Carroll Campbell with helping people on the journey to conversion.
At the end of each rite, each parish group was invited to the front of the cathedral to have its photo taken with the bishop. As the large group from Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Brentwood moved forward, the bright blue necktie worn by Ivan Sang, 9½, drew a compliment from the bishop.
Ivan, who was wearing a gray suit, white shirt and tie, was soon to be the principal for the day at his elementary school, his father said.
Soon, too, he'll receive the sacraments. And it was the first time he had met a bishop.
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