Lisa Kochanowski
Assistant Editor/Reporter
May 23, 2023 // Bishop

Students Take Final Step in Christian Initiation

Lisa Kochanowski
Assistant Editor/Reporter

After years of preparation, prayer, and deep spiritual reflection, 23 youth from St. Paul Chapel and St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Angola, took their final step in Christian initiation through the celebration of Confirmation. Since both parishes share Father Osman Ramos as their pastor, the groups gathered at St. Anthony of Padua for the celebration on Thursday, May 18. 

“Tonight, you will be sealed with the gift to the Holy Spirit, so you’ll be fully initiated into the church,” said Bishop Rhoades at the Mass. “As they receive the Holy Spirit, we pray they will always live as faithful disciples of Jesus.” 

Lisa Kochanowski
Evelyn Rinard of St. Anthony of Padua was accompanied by her grandfather and sponsor, Norman Thomas, during Confirmation Mass at St. Anthony of Padua in Angola on Thursday, May 18.

“Our Confirmation program is a two-year program beginning in the 7th grade and finishing with our Confirmation Mass with Bishop Rhoades during the spring of their 8th-grade year. In the 7th and 8th grades, the students study Jesus Christ, Liturgy and Sacraments, Morality, Prayer, the Church, and Church history. In the 7th grade, the catechists, Wendy Yagodinski and Lisa Gibson, concentrate on the Theology of the Body Program, Morality, and Prayer. In the 8th grade, our catechist, Ben Roederer, concentrates on Jesus Christ, Liturgy and Sacraments, the Church, and Church history,” said Cathy Bryan, Director of Religious Education at St. Anthony of Padua. 

Students also have the chance to work together, and in the community, completing 30 hours of service including helping with activities at the parish such as the fish fry events, Breakfast with St. Nick, cleaning the church, Advent Wreath Workshop, Vacation Bible School, helping with the rummage sale, and raking leaves. Assisting neighbors or other community organizations is welcomed and recommended to give the students the chance to better know their community.

“Every year, we have a Confirmation Retreat at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at Notre Dame or we participate in the Diocesan Retreat for Confirmation students,” notes Bryan. 

Ty Couch of St. Paul Chapel picked the name St. Hubert for his confirmation name. “I like hunting and I like the same things he does,” said Couch about his name choice, who is the patron saint of hunters. 

Family friend Chris Pierson was Couch’s sponsor. Pierson has watched Couch grow up, seeing him at Mass each week. The duo shares a love of the outdoors and has formed a lasting friendship that also became part of Couch’s spiritual journey. 

Lisa Kochanowski
At a Confirmation Mass at St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Angola on Thursday, May 18, 23 youth from St. Paul Chapel and St. Anthony of Padua took their final step in Christian initiation.

“He’s one of my best friends and we like to do things together,” said Couch. “Today means a lot to me and makes me closer to God.” 

Pierson has enjoyed watching the family grow up at St. Paul’s and was honored to be named a sponsor for confirmation. He plans to support Couch in any way he needs as a friend and spiritual mentor. “This means a lot to me,” said Pierson, who is proud of the young man Couch has become. 

Evelyn Rinard of St. Anthony of Padua took the name St. Monica because she loved the name and her beautiful story. “Today means a lot to me.” 

She continued a family tradition and asked her grandfather, Norman Thomas, to be her sponsor. Rinard said her grandfather is a faithful person who goes to church regularly and is a good role model for her in her faith life. 

“This is my youngest grandchild and I’m happy to do it,” said Thomas. He plans to do anything he can to help his granddaughter’s spiritual journey even if it means buying breakfast or donuts after going to church together. 

Leah Headley of St. Paul Chapel chose the name of St. Rita because she is the patron saint of the impossible and she finds that amazing. The preparation journey for confirmation was great and she enjoyed the opportunity to go on a retreat with students from St. Anthony of Padua to meet and interact with new people. The whole experience was very special to Headley and she is glad to now be a permanent member of the Church. 

Headley was blessed to have her godmother, Sheila Vorst, as her confirmation sponsor. The two are close and Headley is grateful to Vorst for her constant support of her faith life. “She is a really good person and important to me.” 

“She means a lot to me,” said Vorst, who is honored to be part of her life and spiritual journey. Vorst plans to continue guiding Headley whenever she needs her and being a support person in life. 

Everyone gathered prayed for all of the youth assembled in the church and celebrated this momentous occasion in their spiritual journey with attendance at Mass and at a social gathering afterward. 

“I hope the confirmands use the gifts of the Holy Spirit to grow in their faith and continue their journey into adulthood,” said Bryan. “The grace they receive will strengthen their personal relationship with Christ and help them to build up the Church and be witnesses of Christ to others. They are the future of the Church!” 

“My prayer for every single one of them, all 23 of you, is that you will grow in holiness. You will grow in holiness and become saints, which means that you’ll live in perfect joy with God and all the other saints in heaven,” said Bishop Rhoades. 

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