36 baptized at St. Alphonsus Easter Vigil

| May 1, 2019 | 0 Comments

Ashley Roque Garcia reacts to the pouring of baptismal water by Father Don Willard, pastor of St. Alphonsus. Next to him is Father Aaron Meszaros, who also serves at St. Alphonsus. DAVE HRBACEK | THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT

The Easter Vigil Mass had an international flavor at St. Alphonsus in Brooklyn Center April 20. People of multiple nationalities filled the pews of the church and listened to prayers, songs and readings in five languages, as 36 people from at least 10 countries were baptized and welcomed into the Church, and another three who had already been baptized received the sacraments of confirmation and Communion.

“This is the largest number that we have had in my memory,” said Mary Synstelien, a parish volunteer who has worked with the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults at St. Alphonsus for nearly two decades.

“I think in large part it is due to the evangelization of our various immigrant communities,” she said. “All I can say is it’s awesome. It is the Church alive and well in Brooklyn Center. It is the universal Church, and we see it every day.”

Readings and prayers were spoken in Vietnamese, Spanish, Swahili, Tagalog (the language of the Philippines) and English. Among the baptized were people from Mexico, Vietnam and the African countries of Cameroon, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Liberia and Nigeria. The parish has been reaching out to a growing immigrant population in the surrounding area since the parish was founded in 1959, said Father Aaron Meszaros, a Redemptorist priest who served as the master of ceremonies for the Easter Vigil Mass.

Redemptorists have led the parish since its founding, and Father Meszaros said his religious community has a charism for ministry to immigrants.

Those baptized ranged from infants to a 72-year-old Vietnamese man and included several entire families.

As he witnessed the baptisms, confirmations and first Communions, Father Meszaros said he felt “a mixture of joy and laughter. And for me as a Redemptorist priest here, I’ve really gotten to know a lot of the people, so it was a really personal experience. … I was just filled with a sense of joy at the experience that these people were going through.”

Photos by Dave Hrbacek / The Catholic Spirit

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Category: Local News