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Australian archdiocese to welcome enormous catechumen class

St. Mary's Cathedral

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J-P Mauro - published on 03/29/24

At the Rite of Election celebrated at Sydney's St. Mary's Cathedral, the archbishop welcomed 266 catechumens who will be baptized into the Catholic Church at Easter.

The Archdiocese of Sydney is celebrating an enormous class of catechumens to be baptized into the Catholic faith at the Easter Vigil. The event of the Rite of Election – or the presentation of the catechumens – took place at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney, officiated by Archbishop Anthony Fisher.

The number of catechumens scheduled to be baptized stands at 266, a number that eclipses the 2021 class by 60%. It is a boon for the Archdiocese of Sydney, which serves an estimated 590,000 Catholics in a city of about 2.7 million. 

According to the Italian newspaper Avvenire, much of the Archdiocese of Sydney’s growth has been attributed to its “Go Make Disciples” campaign. Layman Simon Yeak, 37, who is responsible for the Christian initiation of adults in the archdiocese, told Avvenire that the initiative is centered on five points: evangelization, leadership, community, training, and cult.

“We support and encourage parishes with initiatives to help them renew themselves in a missionary sense, with the Eucharist at the center of everything. We have also created a listening center where those interested in becoming Catholic can contact the archdiocese easily and so that their request does not get lost or suffer delays.”

Yeak explained that he provides a personal touch by listening to each applicant and promptly contacting the nearest parish to them in order to get the process started. He noted that the support at this stage is especially important:

“In this way the candidate is accompanied in his first contact with the community and is then followed closely on his journey towards full initiation into Christian life.”

The program has this year’s catechumens across 46 parishes within the archdiocese, with half being native Australians and half being immigrants. Yeak described one such immigrant, from Indonesia, whose faith journey stuck with him: a young woman who was raised Muslim, but began to feel a calling: 

“During her pilgrimage to Mecca she asked God what she should do in her inner confusion. And she heard a voice from her saying to her: ‘she becomes my daughter.’ She didn’t know what [the voice] meant, until she understood that [it] was a calling to become a child of God, a Christian.”

Read more at Avvenire.

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