Father, mother and son received the Sacraments of Initiation during the Holy Saturday Mass at St Nicholas of Myra Parish, Penrith.
Rikki Ellis said the Eucharist is what brought his son, Riley, to the Church.
Riley had always wanted to take communion, like his two baptised younger siblings and his classmates at St Dominic’s College Kingswood.
So when he decided to begin his sacramental journey, Dad also took that step to draw closer to God by getting baptised “to support my son”. They chose the same saint name: St Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland.
“Michelle was baptised when she was a child,” Mr Ellis said with reference to his wife who, together with Charlton Ryan, received the gift of the Holy Spirit through the imposition of hands and anointing with oils by the priest.
Michelle and Charlton also received the Eucharist for the first time during the beautiful Easter Vigil.
They were among seven catechumens presented to the parish community during the evening mass which began with the congregation gathered outside the church for a Service of Light, where the new Paschal candle was lit from a blessed fire and carried in procession into a dark church.
Presiding over the mass was Parish Priest Fr Joe Manjaly, who reminded parishioners that “Jesus loves you”.
“Love Him back, so you may see clearly,” Fr Joe said.
The other candidates for the sacraments of initiation were 16-year-old Penola Catholic College Emu Plains student Imelda Sapphire Wright, Tae Young Kim and Jessica Levvick, who were all baptised, stepping down into a pool of water wearing black and having Holy Water derived from the Jordan River — where the Bible says Jesus was baptised — poured over their forehead.
The saint names chosen by new neophytes Tae and Imelda were especially rich with meaning.
Tae chose Saint Nina, a symbol of faith who called the people of Georgia to Christ at a very young age.
“It was the name of my late sister Na Young Kim; her nickname was Na-Na,” Tae said of her older sister who passed away in 2019, leaving a hole in her heart.
Imelda chose the saint name Veronica, known as the woman who offered a cloth to Jesus so He could wipe His face on the way to His crucifixion, in honour of her late great-great-grandmother.
“She had the same confirmation name. I was close to her, so it was very special,” Imelda said.
After the baptism the newly baptised wore white garments, to symbolise that they are washed clean of sin and that they are called to continue to walk in this newness of life.
Kathleen Smith was one proud godparent.
“I’m part of the RCIA [short for Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults]; that’s how I met Rikki,” Kathleen said of her first godson. “I feel very honoured.”
The catechumenal journey or RCIA process is for all those seeking to become members of the Catholic Church. It prepares the non-baptised to be joyfully received into the Catholic Church by receiving the three Sacraments of Initiation – Baptism, Confirmation and the Holy Eucharist.
Kathleen was introduced to the RCIA by past coordinators, husband and wife Ina and Norman Heffernan, who ran the program for 17 years.
Norman said there would have been 80 to 100 liturgical rites in that time.
Asked if they had kept in touch with those who had gone through the RCIA process, Norman said smiling: “Facebook is a wonderful thing.”
In his parish bulletin message, Fr Joe thanked the RCIA team for their dedication and commitment, adding “If you or your loved ones would like more information about becoming a Catholic or wish to learn more about the Catholic faith, please feel free to speak with one of the priests or Allan and Josephine Linga, who are our RCIA Coordinators”.
Isabell Petrinic is a freelance writer and contributor to Catholic Outlook.
View images from the Easter Vigil celebrations at St Nicholas of Myra Parish, Penrith, here or below: