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'This was
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placeholder April 3, 2017   •   VOL. 55, NO. 7   •   Oakland, CA
Holy Week & Easter Liturgies

'This was my moment'

Angelic Acosta

Pedro Acosta

Isaiah Acosta

When Angelic Acosta is baptized and receives first communion and conformation at the Easter Vigil at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Fremont, her sponsors will be by her side, as they have been throughout her journey to this night.

Acosta's husband Pedro and son Isaiah are serving as her sponsors as she prepares to become Catholic.

"Their journey started when a friend of the father started inviting him to Mass," said Rev. Alexander Castillo, who got to know the family. His first assignment after his ordination to the priesthood in 2011 was as parochial vicar of the Fremont parish.

"The father took his child to Mass," Father Castillo said. "The child was curious about why he couldn't receive Communion."

As a young teenager, Isaiah joined the faith formation program, and received his baptism, confirmation and first communion.

The father, back in the church, asked his wife to convalidate the marriage.

"We were married in the courthouse," Angelic Acosta said. "We went in our jeans, got married and went back to work," she said.

She agreed to the convalidation ceremony, and said she felt no pressure.

Surrounded by family and friends, the couple was blessed in the church on the 13th anniversary of the courthouse wedding. Father Castillo presided.

Afterward, she said, she was still deciding what faith meant to her. "When we were little, my mom took us to every church," she said, "but not Catholic."

Current events helped her decide.

"I started hearing on the news about Christians being persecuted," she said. "They want to go, but can't.

"Here I am: I can go, but I choose not to."

She started going to Spanish-language Mass with her husband and son, she said, "until I decided where I wanted to go."

Then one day, they went to an English-language Mass. Between the homily — he may have been a visiting priest — and the hymns, "I had tears in my eyes," she said. "I felt like I was at home.

"Everyone has their moment. This was my moment."

But she didn't mention it to her husband and son. She did ask Father Castillo's direction in how to go about becoming Catholic.

The day before Thanksgiving, she told her family she had something to do in the morning.

"I had my first class for my baptism," she told her son and husband.

"Their jaws dropped," she said. "I wish I'd had a camera.

"My husband had the biggest smile."

All the reasons she had for not going to church were resolved. "Before that, I didn't have time," she said. "It's amazing to me. Everything has worked out. We go to church. We have a nice lunch as a family. We are less rushed than before."

Their story, Father Castillo said, offers a "profound message of how the Lord uses all different ways to reach our hearts: the invitation to the father; the curiosity of the child; the journey of the child; the desire of the father to have the marriage convalidated; and the mother's willingness to do so out of love for him."

The family attended the Rite of Election on March 5 in the Cathedral of Christ the Light. Father Castillo, who serves as the bishop's priest secretary and master of ceremonies, arranged for a family photograph with Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ.

The next day, Isaiah turned 18.

It is a very good year, Angelic Acosta said.

 
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