Thousands Joining the Catholic Church in the U.S. This Easter

Thousands of people across the United States will be welcomed into the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil on March 26, the USCCB reports.

Catechumens, who have never been baptized, will receive baptism, confirmation and first Communion at the Holy Saturday Easter Vigil. Candidates, who have already been baptized in another Christian tradition whose baptism is recognized by the Catholic Church, will enter the Church through a profession of faith and reception of confirmation and Eucharist.

About 80 of the nearly 200 dioceses in the United States reported numbers for 2016 to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The largest diocese in the U.S., Los Angeles, will welcome 1,630 total new Catholics; in Washington it is 1,375, in Newark it is 1,090, in Detroit it is 1,025. In California, the Diocese of Orange will welcome 915 catechumens and 622 candidates, and the Diocese of Stockton will welcome 360 catechumens and 217 candidates. In Florida, St. Petersburg, St. Augustine, and Palm Beach report 813 catechumens and 1,362 candidates; Orlando reports 532 catechumens.

Numbers for other dioceses are at the USCCB website.

The retranslation of all the rites of the church continues, and this is the newly-approved text for the laying on of hands at Confirmation:

Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who brought these your servants to new birth
by water and the Holy Spirit,
freeing them from sin:
send upon them, O Lord, the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete;
give them the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and fortitude,
the spirit of knowledge and piety;
fill them with the spirit of the fear of the Lord.
Through Christ our Lord.

The previous text, which still may be used, is this:

All-powerful God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
by water and the Holy Spirit
you freed your sons and daughters from sin
and gave them new life.
Send your Holy Spirit upon them
to be their helper and guide.
Give them the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of right judgment and courage,
the spirit of knowledge and reverence.
Fill them with the spirit of wonder and awe in your presence.
Through Christ our Lord.





  1. Hello and a blessed Holy Week to everyone!

    Is the TOTAL number of people who enter the Church on Easter Vigil published anywhere after Easter weekend? Each person has to enroll in his/her diocese, so I would presume that these numbers are consolidated somewhere along the way. It would be interesting to know how this compares to previous years.

    Just curious.

  2. The following is a very hopeful sign. If this isn’t too off-topic, here are statistics from France:

    During the Easter Vigil, nearly 5,300 baptisms in France

    4124 adults will receive the sacraments of initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist) in mainland France and in departments and communities overseas (3982 metropolitan catechumens and at least 150 in overseas), according to the Conference Bishops of France, which is looking forward to an increase of nearly 40% over six years ago.

    Among these adults, more than half are aged 20 to 35 and represent about 57% of conscripts. On the other hand, students (16% of all catechumens) are preparing for the sacraments of Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation within the universities and colleges chaplaincies.

    In these adults will join 1158 adolescents and young people (12 to 18) who will also be baptized on Easter. Some of them will be confirmed and receive Communion for the first time during the Easter period.

    Jonathan Sommerville

  3. “Candidates, who have already been baptized in another Christian tradition whose baptism is recognized by the Catholic Church, will enter the Church…”

    Perhaps this is a small nit to pick, but it seems significant enough to mention. Baptized Christians have already entered the Church, through their baptism into Christ. When those who have been baptized in a separated ecclesial community wish to become Catholic, they are received into the full communion of the Catholic Church. But they do not enter (or reenter) the Church. The distinction is important both to emphasize the dignity of baptism and to recognize the radical nature of the conversion undergone by the catechumens.

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