Thirty Students Receive Sacraments in Annual RCIA

April 19, 2018

By Chip Underhill

For the second year in a row, an especially large number of students at Saint Anselm College received holy sacraments as part of the annual Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults is an established process for individuals seeking to become Catholic and to receive the sacraments of initiation.

A total of 30 students were initiated into the Catholic Church on April 9, 2018 in the Abbey Church. Twenty-eight initiates are Saint Anselm students; two are high school students who are affiliated with the college. Sacraments included Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist, and Full Communion with the Catholic Church.

Customarily, RCIA candidates average five people. In 2017, an unusually large number of 21 candidates participated. Of the 30 students initiated in 2018, Abbot Matthew Leavy O.S.B., says, “It was a privilege and a pleasure for me to mentor this year’s group of 30 students preparing to receive various Sacraments of Initiation. These are wonderful young women and men who now in early adulthood have intentionally decided to deepen their faith commitment, continuing their spiritual journey in the community of the Church. I am immensely proud of them and am grateful to be the one who conferred the Sacraments upon them."

Ten of the 30 students were baptized, confirmed and received the Eucharist. Eighteen students were confirmed. Two students received Full Communion with the Catholic Church.

Tyler Miranda ’20 of Portsmouth, Rhode Island, received Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist.

“I chose to undergo this process because of the community,” Miranda explains. “I came from a non-practicing family. The only church experience I had growing up was going to funerals. Although I always wanted to go to church for Mass, at home I was hesitant about trying to find a parish. When I came to Saint Anselm College, I realized that it was the perfect time for me to dig deeper into my faith, and I decided to start going to Mass. Looking at the community I was part of, I realized I wanted to enter it fully; that is when I decided I wanted to get confirmed.”

Miranda adds that his search in faith is connected to his major in social work.

“I chose the confirmation name, Isidore the Laborer, because of his help of the impoverished, connecting me [in} social work which will entail helping underprivileged populations," says Miranda. "I also chose Saint Isidore because he is the patron saint of many Filipino provinces. My father’s family is from the Philippines; this was an important connection to my heritage.”

A fellow sophomore, Colleen Mulholland of Merrimac, Mass., also received the three sacraments. She credits the program with her self-discovery.

“Through RCIA, I have gained so much knowledge of my faith and myself. I was very blessed to have so many people supporting me throughout my faith journey,” says Mulholland. “As I reflect back, I am grateful my parents did not baptize me as a baby because now I have the freedom to choose my religion, and I feel extremely confident about my choice. Whenever I enter the church here on campus, I feel a wave of happiness and that is a safe space for me. I am incredibly grateful for Saint Anselm. If I had attended another university, I would not have the same opportunity."

RCIA is a process open to those exploring faith, from many backgrounds and experiences. The 30 students initiated into the Catholic Church in 2018 represent 15 majors at Saint Anselm College and hail from six states.

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