December 14, 2023 // Diocese

Bishop Confirms 27 at Basilica of the Sacred Heart

After months of preparation, Bishop Rhoades confirmed 27 candidates at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on Sunday, December 3. The candidates, from the University of Notre Dame and Holy Cross Catholic School in South Bend, filed in 30 minutes before Mass began to sit at the front with their sponsors.

Notre Dame senior and Campus Ministry Intern Christian Quilon passed out name tags, and Megan Urbaniak, Coordinator of Ministries at the basilica, prepared altar servers. Families strolled in to find the best spot to sit and see their candidate.

Photos by Michelle McDaniel
Bishop Rhoades celebrates Mass at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at the University of Notre Dame on Sunday, December 3. At the Mass, Bishop Rhoades confirmed 27 candidates from Holy Cross Catholic School in South Bend and the University of Notre Dame.

Frank Agostino and his family sat near the front so they could see their son, who was the first to be called from the Holy Cross students.

“The most important thing I can do as a father is teach my son to love God with his heart, mind, and soul. This is a choice for them; they didn’t have a choice at baptism. This is my son’s time to step up and choose his faith, so it’s a very happy day for me to see him make that choice,” Agostino said.

Along with the other Holy Cross eighth-grade candidates, Agostino’s son had to interview potential sponsors, write essays about why they wanted to be confirmed in their faith, meet with a priest, create posters about their confirmation saint, and take several months of religious classes through the school.

The Notre Dame students who were confirmed took part in the Short Course Process, which included a semester of weekly classes for students who were already familiar with the faith and had developed a relationship with God.

“This program is great because it meets people where they’re at and shows them what it means to be uniquely Catholic and the beauty of the Church and faith,” Quilon said. “As weeks went by, our candidates grew in deeper understanding and appreciation for the faith.”

Bishop Rhoades confirms a candidate during a Mass at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at the University of Notre Dame on Sunday, December 3.

One candidate, Notre Dame sophomore Thomas Huberty, grew up Protestant but chose to attend the University of Notre Dame in part to deepen his faith. On December 3, he was confirmed as a Catholic, along with the 12 other Notre Dame students.

“This program has exponentially increased my prayer life. I’ve spent more time developing my prayer life at Notre Dame than anywhere else. I feel so blessed. I’m just so grateful for the influences around me. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” Huberty said.

For eighth-grade Holy Cross student Julian Sanchez Murillo, receiving the sacrament meant a deepening of his already-present Catholic faith.

“To me, getting confirmed means getting closer to God, new doors opening, and discovering new things. It means getting to know the fruits and gifts of the Holy Spirit,” Sanchez Murillo said.

Bishop Rhoades’ homily addressed this deepening of faith and the mission of the Church, especially for confirmed individuals. He reminded the congregation of the Sacrament of Confirmation’s relation to Pentecost Sunday.

“It was on Pentecost Sunday that the mission of the Church began – the mission of proclaiming and establishing Christ’s Kingdom among all peoples,” he said. “The Holy Spirit came upon the disciples in that room in Jerusalem, strengthening them for this mission.”

Bishop Rhoades continued: “The Holy Spirit came upon them not as a dove like at Jesus’ baptism but as tongues of fire igniting the disciples with the fire of God’s love, giving the disciples a special strength to spread and defend the faith by word and action as true witnesses of Christ the Savior. And ever since Pentecost, the baptized receive the same power of the Holy Spirit through confirmation, a sacrament that completes the grace of baptism.”

Bishop Rhoades congratulated the candidates as well as urged them to take up the mission they accepted through the sacrament.

After Mass, candidates walked to the Lady Chapel within the Basilica to take photos with their groups and Bishop Rhoades, and then walked to separate receptions.

Holy Cross Catholic School students were celebrated in Remick Commons, a short walk from the basilica, which was decorated for Christmas. The students’ posters of saints lined the windows, displayed for parents before they were set up at the school.

Holy Cross Principal Annie Barjas cut cake for students, congratulating them as parents and sponsors sat at tables with their students and took photos.

Meanwhile, Notre Dame students sat with their families at the nearby Coleman-Morse Center, eating and celebrating, ready to take on the Church’s mission as newly confirmed members of the faith.

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