|Photograph by Loci B. Lenar|
US Catholic Church Finds Astonishing Variety of People Joining this Easter - U.S. - Catholic Online
The following excerpt is from Catholic Online:
WASHINGTON, DC (CNA) - A Muslim, a family of seven, a marine, a former abortion clinic administrator - these are just a few of the many faces of people from around the country who are slated to join the Catholic Church at Easter.
The U.S. bishops' conference recently profiled a handful of unique stories from individuals in different states, each of whom will be either baptized or confirmed during the Church's universal celebration of the Easter Vigil on April 24.
Although the numbers are still trickling in for this year, the conference reported that in 2010, there were over 43,000 adult baptisms in the U.S. and more than 75,000 people received into full communion with the Church.
Soon-to-be baptized New Orleans resident Ahdija Cheumbike Baker was raised a Muslim. The daughter of a Detroit man and a Tanzanian woman, Baker is one of the 282 catechumens and candidates that the Catholic Church in New Orleans will be welcoming at Easter.
Baker said that she struggled with some of her Muslim beliefs throughout her life and that ultimately, the "love of the Lord" as well as a love interest drove her to start attending a local Catholic church, St. Peter Claver.
Eighteen year-old Kalene Laforest is a Marine and feels compelled to join the Catholic Church before going on assignment in June. A catechumen at St. Peter's Church in LaGrange, Georgia, LaForest said that she wanted a faith with depth, history, deep spirituality, tradition, and "no all-over-the-place craziness." She is among 1,912 who will join the Catholic Church in the Atlanta archdiocese this year.
Across the U.S. in the Archdiocese of San Francisco, a family of seven will be welcomed into the Church. James and Michelle House, who are parishioners at St. Catherine of Siena Parish, will come into full communion at the Easter Vigil. In the following week, infant David, 2 months old, will be baptized, while his siblings Kristina, James, Alexandra and Joseph will be received into the Church.
Michelle House said the family, who are former Episcopalians, found a welcoming community at St. Catherine's when they moved to northern California.
In Austin, Texas, Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood clinic director and author of the bestselling book "Unplanned," is getting ready to enter the Catholic Church.
Due to a personnel shortage at the abortion clinic she used to work in, she was called in to assist in an ultrasound-guided abortion for the first time in September 2009.
The next few minutes changed Johnson's life irrevocably, as she watched the 13 week-old baby -whom she had believed to be incapable of feeling anything- squirming and twisting to avoid the tube into which it would be vacuumed.
Shocked by what she had seen, Johnson still initially continued her work running the clinic and promoting its work. Just a few weeks later, however, she was in the nearby office of the Coalition For Life, telling its director Shawn Carney that she could no longer continue helping women have abortions.
Johnson and her husband have grown in their faith during the past year, and are now preparing to enter the Catholic Church.
Read more: Variety of People Joining Catholic Church this Easter