At Saint Mary's College, rites of initiation April 3
While most of the people receiving the sacraments of initiation had their eyes pointed toward the Easter Vigil, April 3 is the date a group of 13 that has prepared for those sacraments at Saint Mary's College of California has circled on the calendar.
Spring break coincides with Easter, with most students being away from the Moraga campus. When they return, the 13 students will receive the sacraments at the 5 p.m. Mass April 3 in the Saint Mary's College Chapel, with the Very Rev. George Mockel, vicar general of the Diocese of Oakland, presiding.
One student who has already been baptized will come into full communion with the Catholic Church; five will be baptized and receive their first Eucharist and confirmation; and the rest will be confirmed.
Rev. Hai Ho, OFM Cap, campus chaplain, has been meeting with the students from 6 to 7:30 p.m. every Sunday since October. Students have been invited to attend Mass at 8 p.m.
Working with Vince Nims, assistant director of liturgy, prayer and faith formation in the school's Mission and Ministry Center, the chaplain said he "tried to incorporate different models for catechetical formation" in preparing the students. Saint Mary's professors also spoke to them on various topics, he said.
"I've been going to Mass more consistently since last year," said Chanel Farago, one of the students who will be baptized. "All of my friends are Catholic. I wanted to be part of the Catholic community on campus."
Raised in a non-denominational Christian environment in her native Washington state, she attended Catholic schools from fifth grade through high school.
The religion classes in those schools introduced her to the Catholic faith, but something was missing, "Most of the girls at school were not practicing," she said. "I didn't see much of a community."
At Saint Mary's, with a more mature audience, she was pleased to see "how many people take their faith seriously. "Why wouldn't I want to be part of that?"
In the Catholic faith, too, she found, "There's more for me after I go."
When she was choosing a college, "I wanted to try to stay in Washington or go to California," Farago said. A friend from high school, a couple of years her senior, "said so many great things" about Saint Mary's that Farago visited the Moraga campus. Once she visited, she "found no real point to apply anywhere else."
What appealed to her was the small community; she had become accustomed to a small community in high school. She said she liked the "feel of the campus."
"You could walk anywhere and know lots of people," she said, finding the Moraga campus small enough to be a face and not a number.
She will graduate in May, and is a business major in the midst of a job search. "Wherever the job goes, I go," she said. She knows that the faith she is embracing goes with her, and looks forward to giving back through workplace philanthropy or individual efforts.
Farago, who is a resident adviser on campus, looked no further than next door for her sponsor, finding him in resident director Brother Kenneth Cardwell, FSC.
"He was someone I could already confide in," she said.
She is grateful that her parents will be attending April 3. "They're happy," she said. "This is something I chose to do on my own."
As she approaches the big day, when she will receive the sacraments of Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation," Farago said, "I realize I made the right decision."
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