Father Gavin Badway annoints Neida Juan with chrism oil, confirming her into the Catholic faith. (CECILIA PADILLA)

Catechumens received fully into Catholic faith

PALM BEACH GARDENS  |  St. Ignatius Loyola Cathedral Parish in Palm Beach Gardens welcomed 10 catechumens into the Catholic Church, June 18, 2020. 

Father Gavin Badway, the recently installed rector of the cathedral, celebrated Mass for the catechumens — who participated in Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults — and their families. The church followed the Center of Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines by maintaining social distancing of six feet, wearing masks and using hand sanitizer upon entering the church. The number of family members allowed to accompany catechumens was limited to immediate family only. The Mass was also livestreamed for parishioners watching at home.

After explaining how he will purify his thumb of the chrism oil between each catechumen receiving their confirmation, Father Badway expressed that “despite the masks, I hope this will be a joyous celebration for everyone.” 

The Mass for the sacraments of initiation comes after almost a four-month postponement due to the outbreak of COVID-19. Typically, catechumens are initiated into the Catholic Church on the Easter Vigil, however, Father Badway encouraged the catechumens that “every Mass is a celebration of Easter Sunday as it calls us to participate in Jesus’s life, death and resurrection.” 

Jenna Gentile, a student at Florida Atlantic University and cathedral parishioner, said for her, quarantine was time spent “coping and waiting” for the exciting day when she could be confirmed in her faith. “Now that I am able to complete this process, I am at peace and feel God’s guiding presence,” she said. 

Neida Juan, a recent graduate from Keiser University and cathedral parishioner, said she was nervous to be confirmed amid the current pandemic. After being anointed with the chrism oil, she said that she “felt closer to God” and “strengthened to handle whatever comes next.” Juan also mentioned that she is engaged to be married and that being confirmed was the next step in growing fully in her faith.