By Katie Engesser
Two weeks after celebrating Christ’s resurrection, a new group of Catholics are putting their faith into practice.
More than 1,000 new parishioners of the Brooklyn Diocese, among them men, women and children, were welcomed into the Catholic faith during the Easter Vigil Mass.
They are called Neophytes, the newest Catholics to profess their faith in God and be born again in the waters of Baptism.
Auxiliary Bishop of Brooklyn Neil Tiedemann was the main celebrant at the Mass at the Immaculate Conception Center in Douglaston, Queens.
The liturgy was celebrated in both English and Spanish, and included testimonies from the new Catholics.
“This Easter, I’ve become a new person. I’m seeing everything with a new beginning,” parishioner Marlita Stanley said of her baptismal experience.
“When I went down into the water, the first dip it was dark, very dark. And as I rose from the water and went down two more times, it was enlightening, it was bright,” she added.
“In a certain sense it’s almost like Pentecost,” said Bishop Tiedemann of the Mass.
“Where we get people of so many different languages and nations and different parts of our diocese, where they come together and celebrate their new birth and in a formal sense they are received into the diocese,” he added.
This year’s number of newly converted is on par with previous years, despite the challenges facing the Church.
Secretary for Evangelization and Catechesis, Theodore Musco, says it is part of an ongoing trend in the diocese.
“Every event we’ve had this year has been sold out,” said Musco.
“More people than ever have been attending our diocesan and parish events, and for that I’m very grateful, because it shows that faith still resides in the heart of the people,” he added.
And for these Neophytes, they go in peace knowing they can love and serve God in a whole new way.