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New Catholics bring varied lives to the church of Oregon (850 converts)
Catholic Sentinel ^ | March 27, 2008 | Ed Langlois

Posted on 03/27/2008 2:47:32 PM PDT by Salvation

March 27, 2008

   

 

New Catholics bring varied lives to the church of Oregon

By Ed Langlois
Fr. Gary Zerr baptizes Leul Gurske, 2, held by mom Bethany at St. Edward Parish in Keizer.

Fr. Gary Zerr baptizes Leul Gurske, 2, held by mom Bethany at St. Edward Parish in Keizer.
St. Edward Parish photo by Susan May

KEIZER — Bethany Gurske descended with her slumbering 2-year-old son into the baptismal pool at St. Edward Church here Saturday night. Father Gary Zerr baptized the two amid running water.

The splash on the head woke Leul, who protested. But he was soon in the dry, comforting arms of his father, Jeff. The Gurskes just adopted Leul from Ethiopia.
The mother and child were among about 850 people who joined the Catholic Church in Oregon during nighttime Easter vigils, complete with darkness, fires and candles.

Michael O’Grady also was brought into the church as a candidate, someone who had already been baptized in another denomination. During the vigil, Father Zerr blessed O’Grady, who is visually impaired, along with his seeing-eye dog, Langley. The canine has been a regular part of classes and meetings for those entering the church.

“It is a true joy watching the faith of these people unfold and seeing the jubilation they display upon entering the church,” says Bumpy Poole, who leads the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults at St. Edward.

On a cool, wet evening, Brian and Gina Baragona are sitting on the couch with their 6-year-old daughter, Bella. The family is watching their dog frolic with a stick and getting some good laughs.

The Baragonas are close in many ways. Now they can add Catholic faith to the list.

“It’s like coming home,” says Gina, who was baptized Saturday night along with her husband at St. John the Baptist Parish in Milwaukie. Young Bella was actually the first official Catholic of the Baragona family, having been baptized a year ago.

Brian and Gina, both 36, grew up in California. Brian’s father, from a large Italian Catholic household, had become disillusioned with the faith, interpreting it as an obstacle to free will.

Brian was 6 when his father died, and his mother refrained from religious requirements, wanting the children to choose for themselves. But he remembered his roots, including his beloved grandmother, a religious education teacher.

Brian, who installs fire sprinklers for a living, has now made his decision. Televangelists of the 1980s turned him off from going to church, but he always remained The Baragonas also were impressed with Catholic neighbors. Once they started attending Mass, that sealed their commitment.

“At first, when we went back to church, I wanted to just go in and attend Mass and leave,” says Brian. “Then we found everyone there at St John’s is so nice and open. Father Maxy (D’Costa) and before that Father Todd (Molinari) made the experience so pleasant. I was surprised that then I really wanted to be involved.”

The history and tradition of the church inspire the Baragonas. Gina, a project assistant for an architecture and engineering firm, finds it moving that she could travel anywhere in the world and find Catholics, her faith family, worshiping in the way she does and believing what she does.

“The values of ‘Love God, love others’ — it doesn’t get any better than that,” Gina says.

Gina had gone to Catholic schools. Her father was a church-goer but when she lived with her mother, she had to go to Mass on her own. Her sacramental records are unclear, so Gina was baptized conditionally on Saturday, a rite to make sure the bases are covered.

The couple hungers for even more education and formation. They may sign on to help future prospective Catholics go through the process.

Both sides of the family are delighted at the choice, which is giving them a new look at the church and faith.

In Klamath Falls Saturday, Nick Huffman embraced a faith whose structure and history he has come to admire.

“I really get something out of the Mass,” Huffman says. “It tells you the real story of Jesus and God.”

The 28-year-old apprentice surveyor starting attending Mass at Sacred Heart Parish with his wife, Haley, a lifelong Catholic. For six years, he attended worship and pondered.

He’d been raised by a Presbyterian mother and was never baptized. He attended Sunday school until he was 9 or so. Then it stopped.

“That TV religion, where people throw their arms up and are saved? That’s not for me,” Huffman says, explaining why he was timid about church.

But at Mass, he could see faith, reason, tradition and excitement all together. He joined a class for those who want to join the church.

“It’s been a great experience,” he says. “I’m glad I have finally taken the step forward to join the Catholic Church and grow closer to God. That is what it’s all about.”

At St. Mary Cathedral in Portland on Easter morning, Father George Wolf welcomed worshipers from various parts of the region, including those, he joked, “who’ve been out of town since Christmas.”



TOPICS: Catholic; Current Events; Ministry/Outreach
KEYWORDS: catholic; catholiclist; easter; vigil
This was a sight to behold.

A picture in the Sentinel(print) also of a guide dog for one of the catachumens being blessed by this priest.

1 posted on 03/27/2008 2:47:34 PM PDT by Salvation
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To: annalex

Ping!


2 posted on 03/27/2008 2:48:06 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

Oops, the visually impaired person was a candidate, not a catachumen..........my mistake!


3 posted on 03/27/2008 2:49:41 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: nickcarraway; sandyeggo; Lady In Blue; NYer; ELS; Pyro7480; livius; Catholicguy; RobbyS; ...
Catholic News Ping!

Please notify me via FReepmail if you would like to be added to or taken off the Catholic News Ping List.

4 posted on 03/27/2008 2:52:28 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation
“The values of ‘Love God, love others’ — it doesn’t get any better than that,” Gina says.

And, the end of the day, that is it. That is what the Church is all about. Great article.

5 posted on 03/27/2008 2:55:52 PM PDT by thefrankbaum
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To: Salvation
…into the baptismal pool…

Baptismal pool? What? I thought those Catholics only sprinkled????

nbsp;

nbsp;

nbsp;

;-)

6 posted on 03/27/2008 4:02:33 PM PDT by markomalley (Extra ecclesiam nulla salus)
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To: 353FMG; AlaskaErik; Always Right; Antoninus; ArrogantBustard; blue-duncan; CTK YKC; dan1123; ...
Thank you. You posted on one of my recent 50 Days of Easter 2008 Celebration threads, dedicated to converts to the Catholic faith, and you did not ask to be removed.

If you want to be on the list, post to this thread. If you do not, let me know either publicly or privately.

Happy Easter. Christ is risen!

Alex.


Previously posted conversion sotries:

Anti-Catholicism, Hypocrisy and Double Standards
Why I Returned to the Catholic Church. Part I: Darkness
Why I Returned to the Catholic Church. Part II: Doubts
Why I Returned to the Catholic Church. Part III: Tradition and Church
Why I Returned to the Catholic Church. Part IV: Crucifix and Altar
Why I Returned to the Catholic Church. Part V: The Catholics and the Pope
Why I Returned to the Catholic Church. Part VI: The Biblical Reality
His Open Arms Welcomed Me
Catholic Conversion Stories & Resources
My Personal Conversion Story
My (Imminent) Reception into the Roman Catholic Church
Catholics Come Home
My Journey of Faith
LOGIC AND THE FOUNDATIONS OF PROTESTANTISM
"What is Truth?" An Examination of Sola Scriptura

7 posted on 03/27/2008 4:51:57 PM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: markomalley
At our Vigil, at the right time, Fr. Brian stepped into the font, grimaced, smiled, and mouthed, "It's COLD!" to the three catechumens.

They weren't really dunked. They knelt in the water and Fr. B took big handsful of water and sloshed 'em real good.

8 posted on 03/27/2008 5:37:05 PM PDT by Mad Dawg (Oh Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.)
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To: markomalley

We can have whichever the bishop desires. As long as the priest follows the correct baptismal rite.

Interesting note: some of the newest churches are implementing full or semi dunk tanks.

New Advent says that:

Baptismal Font
A basin or vase, serving as a receptacle for baptismal water in which the candidate for baptism is immersed, or over which he is washed, in the ceremony of Christian initiation.


9 posted on 03/27/2008 6:20:02 PM PDT by MarkBsnr ( I would not believe in the Gospel if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so.)
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To: MarkBsnr

Note: my previous comment was intended to be just a tad bit snarky...


10 posted on 03/27/2008 6:27:02 PM PDT by markomalley (Extra ecclesiam nulla salus)
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To: MarkBsnr

The thing I wonder about when churches rent large pools for Easter Vigil is what they do with all that holy water afterward when they don’t need the pool anymore.


11 posted on 03/27/2008 6:54:49 PM PDT by BaBaStooey ("Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light." Ephesians 5:14)
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To: markomalley
Baptismal pool? What? I thought those Catholics only sprinkled????

I think they said it was a Bumpy Poole....maybe a jetted tub? ;)

“It is a true joy watching the faith of these people unfold and seeing the jubilation they display upon entering the church,” says Bumpy Poole, who leads the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults at St. Edward.

12 posted on 03/27/2008 7:35:06 PM PDT by To Hell With Poverty
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To: markomalley

Yah, I realized that afterwards.

Thanks.


13 posted on 03/27/2008 7:45:01 PM PDT by MarkBsnr ( I would not believe in the Gospel if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so.)
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To: BaBaStooey

They give it to the Vatican Navy.


14 posted on 03/27/2008 7:45:30 PM PDT by MarkBsnr ( I would not believe in the Gospel if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so.)
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To: markomalley
For the job -- Peter complained to Paul
My baptismal pool is way too small
To save time -- Paul replied
Keep then uncircumsized
And don't teach any diet at all

15 posted on 03/27/2008 7:55:00 PM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: markomalley

LOL! And now you know differently!


16 posted on 03/27/2008 8:46:52 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: markomalley

I got it!


17 posted on 03/27/2008 8:48:50 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: BaBaStooey

The one in this church is permanent — not rented.

You have FReepmail.


18 posted on 03/27/2008 8:49:38 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: To Hell With Poverty

Funny name, isn’t it?


19 posted on 03/27/2008 8:50:36 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

Had a gut feeling a year ago that this was becoming a trend.

Most excellant.


20 posted on 03/27/2008 8:57:52 PM PDT by Global2010
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To: BaBaStooey

I was listening to a bit of Catholic Radio on the road today and you can water your flowers with left over holy water if it does not evaporate.

It is the intentions.


21 posted on 03/27/2008 9:05:51 PM PDT by Global2010
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To: Global2010

Another reason there are getting to be more Republicans in Oregon too! I don’t know the numbers yet for the Diocese of Baker in Eastern Oregon.


22 posted on 03/27/2008 9:07:00 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Global2010

Extra Holy Water can also be disposed of in a special sacrarium. (Fancy name for a church dry well.)


23 posted on 03/27/2008 9:08:47 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Mad Dawg; markomalley
We have a Baptismal Pool. The two young girls and one older woman being Baptized on Holy Saturday, knelt in the pool, and Father Mike poured water over their heads from a large glass pitcher. You could tell by their expressions that it was cold!

It was a wonderful sight later, at the Offertory, when the three returned. The little girls were dressed in tea length white dresses, and the older woman was in a white robe over her clothes. We, in the choir, were singing "For All the Saints", and I got so fahklempt when those little girls walked up the aisle, that I couldn't continue singing. We had another woman and two men who were Confirmed, and received Holy Communion, along with the three who were Baptized earlier.

24 posted on 03/27/2008 9:33:04 PM PDT by SuziQ
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To: markomalley; MarkBsnr; Salvation

FYI,
Baptism has never been done with ‘sprinkling’ (or to clarify since this is a common misunderstanding, with merely marking the sign of the cross on the forehead). The water must FLOW over the forehead; that is the essential physical sign for the Sacrament. It does not matter if it’s a tiny ladle or a full pool (which I think is a bit ridiculous as immersion is not part of Catholic faith, so why have the pretentiousness of a pool?).


25 posted on 03/27/2008 10:20:28 PM PDT by baa39 ('Whoever spares the bad injures the good.' - Syrus)
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To: Salvation

That’s great. Amidst so much immorality in the world, people are seeing the light and coming to the Church.


26 posted on 03/27/2008 10:23:34 PM PDT by Pinkbell
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To: SuziQ

Wonderful!


27 posted on 03/27/2008 10:27:29 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Pinkbell

Amen!


28 posted on 03/27/2008 10:28:24 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: baa39
FYI,

Baptism has never been done with ‘sprinkling’ (or to clarify since this is a common misunderstanding, with merely marking the sign of the cross on the forehead). The water must FLOW over the forehead; that is the essential physical sign for the Sacrament. It does not matter if it’s a tiny ladle or a full pool (which I think is a bit ridiculous as immersion is not part of Catholic faith, so why have the pretentiousness of a pool?)

Please see post #10.

You should have been able to see this through the use of the ";-)" emoticon at the bottom of post #6. However, it is apparent that I should have made the snarkiness of post #6 clearer than a mere "wink." My apologies for the apparent lack of clarity in that original post.

Have a marvelous Friday today!

 

Oh, and as for not having a pool, suggest you look at the Didache. (The original recommendation was to have a river (i.e., living water)...but that would be a bit ridiculous to have a river running through a church)

 

;-)  <--please note the wink emoticon...

29 posted on 03/28/2008 2:15:37 AM PDT by markomalley (Extra ecclesiam nulla salus)
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To: markomalley

Yeah, I got the snarky part. I thought the account of Fr. Brian’s mouthed complaint was worth sneaking into the conversation though....


30 posted on 03/28/2008 7:25:23 AM PDT by Mad Dawg (Oh Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.)
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To: SuziQ

O My. Easter is Da BOMB!


31 posted on 03/28/2008 7:40:11 AM PDT by Mad Dawg (Oh Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.)
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To: Mad Dawg

As the world becomes more complicated and more noisy, it is great to see people seeking peace through faith and community and listening to the quite voice of God.


32 posted on 03/28/2008 8:23:44 AM PDT by truemiester ((If the U.S. should fail, a veil of darkness will come over the Earth for a thousand years))
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To: truemiester

Yup. It is wonderful to see. Even though the gift is all God’s, they are themselves a gift to the rest of us.


33 posted on 03/28/2008 9:32:00 AM PDT by Mad Dawg (Oh Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.)
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