At the footsteps of Eiben Hall, a fire burned brightly into the night as Chaminade chaplain Fr. George Cerniglia, SM began Easter Vigil.
In the Roman Catholic Church tradition, the Easter Vigil, also called the Paschal Vigil or Holy Saturday, is the most important service of public worship and Masses of the liturgical year because it commemorates Christ’s rising from the dead. Traditionally at this Mass, people are baptized, and adult catechumens are received into full communion with the Church. This Easter Vigil at Mystical Rose Oratory four Chaminade students and six parishioners committed themselves to the faith and were received into that full communion.
Chaminade students Anthony Lamorena, Darynka Gomez-Cervantes, Mario Armendariz, and Jared Hernden have been studying the Catholic faith since September 2016.
Lamorena, a senior majoring in Business Administration, knew that this was the right time to be confirmed. He had been raised Catholic but had always put it off. “I believe that when God tells you it’s time that is when you should do it. I felt God drawing me to this program this year, and I thought it was the right time in my life to go through the process and attain this sacrament,” he said.
Darynka Gomez-Cervantes, a first-year student majoring in Criminal Justice, felt that this was the right time for her as well. She explained, “I chose to confirm as Catholic because I was baptized Catholic and thought to myself that I needed to continue the steps of being a Catholic and becoming closer to God. I am very glad I chose to go through this somewhat long process. In the end, it was very worth it, and I was glad I made this huge decision that will forever change my life.”
As the students went through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), they prepared themselves to receive the sacraments of initiation (baptism, confirmation, and the Eucharist). The night was the culmination of an eight-month journey where they learned about the Catholic faith and then took the final steps.
“The process was a lot of fun for me,” said Gomez-Cervantes. “My sponsor was my best friend and would attend all the meetings with me, and Danny (Campus Ministry director Daniel O’Regan) would make the meetings very relatable and spiritual. We would meet every week. It was great relaxing and talking about God.”
For Lamorena, the experience grew his understanding. “The process leading up to confirmation was both educational and cleansing as I prepared myself spiritually for this new leap forward in my walk with God. It allowed me to revisit things I learned in the past, and it allowed me to learn more about God and the Church,” Lamorena shared.
The Easter Vigil Mass on Saturday, April 15, was deeply moving for the students — filled with symbols of light and hope. Friends and supporters were on hand to witness the sacraments of initiation.
“I felt a bit of sadness because my parents weren’t here to celebrate this special moment in my life and spiritual journey, but I’m glad I have great friends that came to support me,” said Gomez-Cervantes. “After the confirmation, I felt much closer to God and related more to the people of the church. I felt like a new person, a worthy person closer to God.”
Lamorena reflected that he, too, had changed. “I felt renewed because I had gone through a process that has helped me become a stronger and new person in the eyes of God and to others,” he said.
The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (R.C.I.A) is an eight-month program intended for those who are interested either in becoming Catholic or who wish to receive the sacrament of Confirmation. Offered by Campus Ministry, the program opens during the first week of September and continues throughout the school year to Easter. R.C.I.A. encourages the growth of each person’s faith life through regular worship at the Sunday Mass in the Mystical Rose Chapel; participation in community service and the Awakening retreat; and mandatory weekly meetings on Sundays after church or at other mutually agreed upon times to learn about Catholic traditions and beliefs.