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Diocese sets date to welcome new Catholics

YOUNGSTOWN — Within the six-county Catholic Diocese of Youngstown, 107 men, women and children from 33 parishes are preparing to become members of the Catholic Church at Easter.

Diocese officials said 31 people will receive the sacraments of baptism, confirmation and Eucharist at the Easter Vigil on April 4; and 76 people already baptized in other Christian traditions will make a profession of faith and receive the sacraments of confirmation and Eucharist.

The Rev. Michael Balash said that for many months, the people have been participating in parishes throughout the diocese in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, a process through which they become familiar with the teachings of the Catholic Church and way of life. They also learn about and participate in the apostolic mission of the church.

On the First Sunday of Lent on Feb. 21, those preparing to receive the sacraments of baptism, confirmation and Eucharist, known as catechumens, will celebrate the Rite of Election at St. Columba Cathedral in Youngstown. During the ceremony, they will be presented to Bishop David Bonnar and their godparent / sponsor, and members of the assembly will be asked to attest to their readiness for the Sacraments of Initiation.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, attendance is by invitation only.

Balash said those already baptized and seeking entrance into the Catholic church, known as candidates, will continue their final preparation for Easter in their parishes throughout the diocese. Along with all Catholics, they will observe the weeks of Lent as a time of spiritual recollection in anticipation of Easter.

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