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New Catholics ‘sealed’ in the faith

250 from 22 parishes receive Communion, confirmation at Rite of Reception ceremonies

MIAMI | Barbara Ann Taylor was in her 50s when she decided to find her biological parents.

“I found out that my parents had passed away, but my father’s sister was living in Baltimore, Maryland,” said Taylor. “She’s 90 years old and like my father, whose last name was Gallagher, is an Irish Catholic. I lived in Pennsylvania and never knew my biological family was living so close to me.”

Sponsor Georgia Maklaklewicz, right, puts her hand on the shoulder of Barbara Anne Taylor, candidate, during the second of two Rite of Reception ceremonies April 29 at St. Mary Cathedral. The Rite of Reception takes place on a Sunday after Easter to welcome new Catholics - those who were baptized into a Christian church or the Catholic Church but have yet to receive all the sacraments of initiation - into full communion with the Church.

Photographer: MARLENE QUARONI | FC

Sponsor Georgia Maklaklewicz, right, puts her hand on the shoulder of Barbara Anne Taylor, candidate, during the second of two Rite of Reception ceremonies April 29 at St. Mary Cathedral. The Rite of Reception takes place on a Sunday after Easter to welcome new Catholics - those who were baptized into a Christian church or the Catholic Church but have yet to receive all the sacraments of initiation - into full communion with the Church.

Antonio Jose Vallejo, sponsor, puts his hand on shoulder of Carlos Faccin, candidate, during the second of two Rite of Reception ceremonies April 29 at St. Mary Cathedral.

Photographer: MARLENE QUARONI | FC

Antonio Jose Vallejo, sponsor, puts his hand on shoulder of Carlos Faccin, candidate, during the second of two Rite of Reception ceremonies April 29 at St. Mary Cathedral.

Archbishop Thomas Wenski confirms Andre Lelong during the second of two Rite of Reception ceremonies April 29 at St. Mary Cathedral.

Photographer: MARLENE QUARONI | FC

Archbishop Thomas Wenski confirms Andre Lelong during the second of two Rite of Reception ceremonies April 29 at St. Mary Cathedral.

A candidate receives her first Communion from Archbishop Thomas Wenski during the second of two Rite of Reception ceremonies April 29 at St. Mary Cathedral.

Photographer: MARLENE QUARONI | FC

A candidate receives her first Communion from Archbishop Thomas Wenski during the second of two Rite of Reception ceremonies April 29 at St. Mary Cathedral.

Taylor said she went to a Protestant church, the United Church of Christ, every Sunday with her adoptive parents. She stopped going to church when she was 18 years old. However, she said she always knew that something was missing in her life. She worked for the federal government in the Washington, D.C. area, at the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command, and traveled extensively during her career. She came to Miami in 2010 to work at U.S. Southern Command in Doral and retired in 2015.

Taylor, 59, said she wanted to have a connection to her biological family. She made a choice to become Catholic, like her father and aunt. She started going to Mass last year at St. David Church in Davie, then discovered that St. Mark was closer to her Cooper City home.

On April 29, Taylor was one of 250 candidates who were received into the Catholic Church at two Rite of Reception ceremonies held at St. Mary Cathedral.

Candidates are people who were baptized in Catholic or non-Catholic churches but lack one or both of the remaining sacraments of initiation: confirmation and Communion. The candidates at the annual Rite of Reception came from 22 Archdiocese of Miami churches. The ceremony traditionally takes place on a Sunday following Easter. 

Those entering into full communion are added to the number of catechumens — 447 this year — who received all their sacraments of initiation — baptism, Communion and confirmation — during the Easter Vigil at their parishes.

During the ceremony, the candidates renewed their baptismal promises. Archbishop Thomas Wenski sprinkled the congregation with baptismal water. Those candidates who were baptized in a non-Catholic church professed their belief in the Catholic Church. The archbishop then confirmed them by anointing them with chrism and laying on of hands. Later, they received their first Communion.

Additional candidates chose to receive the sacraments at their parishes.

“My aunt is thrilled that I became a Catholic,” Taylor said. “I feel it’s part of my DNA. I felt that the Holy Spirit was pulling me to the Catholic Church when I walked into St. Mark Church last year to get the paperwork for the RCIA program.”

Taylor, who was married twice, widowed and divorced, doesn’t have children. She said she didn’t know anyone who would sponsor her until she met Susan Maklaklewicz at St. Mark.

“I was happy to be her sponsor,” said Maklaklewicz, who works in the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) at the parish. “Being Catholic has given Barbara solace. We are now sisters in Christ.”

Taylor said she was very moved by the Rite of Reception and by visiting the cathedral. “I was so touched after the archbishop confirmed me,” she said. “I knelt down to pray and I was overcome with tears.”

Archbishop Wenski told those who were received into full communion with the Church that, as Catholics, they are “more than just a parish family. We are members of one, universal Church, built on the foundation of the apostles and their preaching.”

He described the grace bestowed by the sacrament of confirmation, saying, “You are ‘sealed’ with the Holy Spirit. This seal is called a ‘character’, marking the person who receives it as called to fulfill the Church’s mission in all the circumstances of life.”

But, he pointed out, we are all still sinners in need of salvation.

“That’s why, on this side of Judgment Day, we call ourselves ‘practicing Catholics’,” the archbishop said. “Our earthly pilgrimage in this ‘valley of tears’ is our one-time opportunity to practice the Catholic faith until we get it right.”

Archbishop Thomas Wenski blesses the congregation at the start of one of two Rite of Reception ceremonies April 29 at St. Mary Cathedral, welcoming new Catholics into full communion with the Church.

Photographer: MARLENE QUARONI | FC

Archbishop Thomas Wenski blesses the congregation at the start of one of two Rite of Reception ceremonies April 29 at St. Mary Cathedral, welcoming new Catholics into full communion with the Church.


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