Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
May 25, 2009
Lacombe school leads children to waters of Baptism
Eleven baptized through Rite of Christian Initiation of Children
PHOTO | CAROL MADOCHE
Erika Litwin, Katelyn Litwin and Darby Fitzgerald receive an anointing during the celebration of Baptism.
“I’m not a Catholic. Their dad, Brian Elliott, is,” she explained. “They actually came home after school one day and asked to be baptized so I came in and I asked Mr. Baron about it. I was really happy and I started taking them to Mass to kind of learn about it.”
Now Elliot plans to enroll in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) in the fall in order to follow in her children’s footsteps.
“So we get the parents through the kids,” Baron laughed, noting the school has had a number of parents go through the RCIA program to become Catholic.
“The school probably plays some kind of role (in parents becoming Catholic). Or, at least their children being in a Catholic school has made them realize this is an important thing for my children so maybe I need to look at this myself.”
Moreover, non-Catholic parents seem to think that if Baptism is important for their children they should do it, Baron said. “I guess the children are coming home saying, ‘I want a faith life and I’m looking at this community and thinking this is my community.’”
Father Lacombe School was founded four years ago and has grown rapidly. Currently it has 138 students. Already, 170 students are registered for next year. “I think we have a very good reputation in town,” Baron says.
WCR PHOTO | RAMON GONZALEZ
Jessica Elliott and Jacob Fraser are shown with Jessica's mother Christine and school principal Curt Baron.
Salavatorian Father Krzystof, pastor of St. Stephen’s Parish, has been “very supportive,” the principal said.
“We asked him would it be okay with you if we run the RCIC program in the school and he was very supportive of that. Some people might want to have the RCIC in the parish but to me it’s important to get the children where they are at — in the school,” Baron said.
“This is their community and I think for a lot of the kids this is their Church. They may not actually get to Church if their parents are not Church people. To me that’s the key to this program being successful.”
Jessica Elliott, Christine’s 10-year-old daughter, said she learned to be closer to Jesus through the RCIC.
“I was happy and excited to be baptized, although a bit nervous,” she added. “Now I am closer to God and I feel part of his family.”
Jacob Fraser, also 10, said he was joyful and happy to be baptized.
“Now I’m one with Jesus,” he said. Asked about what Baptism means, Jacob said, “It is when you leave your old life behind and begin a new life with Jesus.”
Baptism has changed him, he said. “I used to be very annoying before I was baptized but not anymore.”
McLaughlin, who taught RCIC to the older students, said in many ways RCIC is the opportunity to fill a vessel that wants to be filled.
“In 95 per cent of the cases the children that are involved in RCIC not only do they want to be there but their parents want them there as well,” he noted.
“The willingness to be in the RCIC program is very powerful. It’s enlightening for me because having been born and raised Catholic, I often find that children that are involved in the RCIC are more welcoming of the Holy Spirit than, say, those that have been born and raised in the Catholic Church.”
McLaughlin says he tries to make RCIC enjoyable for the students and interesting to him.
“I teach the higher students and so they are able to read the Scriptures. And we use the children’s personal experiences as well as my own in the program.”
McLaughlin believes there is less reluctance for older children to take part in a program if it is in the school, during the school day.
“With RCIC we don’t put the child out of place (after school as he experienced catechism). It’s not taking their time away from them; you do not have to schedule around. The community in the school supports what these kids are doing.”
Our mission: To serve our readers by bringing the Gospel to bear on current issues in the Church and in secular culture through accurate news coverage and reflective commentary.