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More than 150 adults confirmed on Pentecost

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All over the world Catholics celebrated Pentecost May 20, remembering the day the Holy Spirit emboldened Christ’s frightened disciples to go out and spread the Good News. During his homily, Arlington Bishop Emeritus Paul S. Loverde encouraged the more than 150 confirmandi at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington to be witnesses in a world that is unreceptive to Christ’s message. 

“Today is Pentecost, and this afternoon we are reliving that mystery in a particular way, for like those first disciples we are gathered in one place,” said Bishop Loverde. “We won't see flames descending on each one of (the candidates), nor will we hear a tremendous wind blow through the cathedral, but that same Holy Spirit is coming.”

Bishop Loverde asked each of the men and women about to be confirmed to pray daily, attend Mass weekly and to keep learning about their faith. He asked them to reach out to others. “No one will know God loves them until that love becomes real and concrete and visible, and we’re the ones who make it visible,” he said.

He warned about sins that plague today’s society, such as bullying and abuse of drugs and alcohol. He spoke about things that THE culture accepts but that are contrary to God’s will, such as assisted suicide, same-sex relationships and in vitro fertilization. 

“Tragically, so much of what is offered to us is fake and inauthentic, and that is why people are hurt and live lives that are not fulfilled,” said Bishop Loverde.

Before he and Father Thomas P. Ferguson, vicar general and pastor of Good Shepherd Church in Alexandria, anointed the candidates with holy chrism, Bishop Loverde ended with a message of love. “Remember, God loves each one of you very much, and so do we — his church,” he said. 

Stacy Pollock, a parishioner of Church of the Nativity in Burke, was one of the newly confirmed. She was baptized Catholic, but didn’t start practicing her faith until she married her husband, Patrick. Eventually she became a catechist’s aide, and after her son began preparing for confirmation she decided it was time for her to receive the sacrament as well. 

“My journey of faith really started when I received the sacrament of marriage,” she said. “My husband was my sponsor and it’s very special to me that I get to share two sacraments with my husband. (Today) I am wearing the dress I wore on my wedding day, the dress I put on after my wedding gown.”

Erika Saravia, a parishioner of Good Shepherd, was baptized Catholic, but never was confirmed. Friends, her godmother and her godson were present at the cathedral to support her.  “I feel very, very happy. I feel that my heart is complete,” she said.

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© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018