Caitlyn Pruden is baptized by Fr. Shimit Abraham, one of 15 Father Lacombe Catholic School students baptized at a special baptismal Mass at the school May 11.

Caitlyn Pruden is baptized by Fr. Shimit Abraham, one of 15 Father Lacombe Catholic School students baptized at a special baptismal Mass at the school May 11.

June 13, 2016

LACOMBE - Fifteen children and students were welcomed as new members of the Catholic community after a special baptismal Mass at Father Lacombe Catholic School in Lacombe .

The St. Thomas Aquinas Roman (STAR) Catholic Schools' kindergarten to Grade 9 school, in its close partnership with the local parish, saw students from preschool to Grade 5 seek the journey to Baptism through the archdiocesan Sacramental Education Initiative.

It culminated in 15 students gathering for a baptismal Mass, May 11 at the school, with family, classmates, teachers, staff and the parish community.

"It was the most special day for me, at Father Lacombe, since we opened 10 years ago. I was so honoured to be there to witness these students receive the gift of Baptism," said Maria Wagner, the vice-principal.

"I was proud to be one of the many teachers who were sponsors to these students. A sponsor is someone that commits to support the parents in guiding these young people in their faith life," Wagner said.

Through the Sacramental Education Initiative, children seven years old and younger learned about the rosary, prayer and faith-building activities. Older children learn the same but also complete two extra preparation classes a week, which started in January.

"As a Catholic and the principal of Father Lacombe Catholic School, the baptismal Mass was one of the most special events I have ever witnessed and participated in, in my teaching career thus far," said Denis Côté.

"It was an event that I will look back on as a highlight, and one that really emphasizes our school's family philosophy."


The idea of 15 students baptized at one Mass was the choice of each family.

"The parents were given a choice whether their children would be baptized at a Sunday Mass, or at a school Mass with the entire school community. All but two families wanted the school Mass," explained Wagner.

"The other four children will be baptized in the next few weeks. This makes a total of 19 children baptized through our school and parish this year, and with those four more at some point this year. Wow, 23 kids and counting!"

The special Mass saw siblings join each other in the sacrament. "Three of the children baptized were preschoolers. It was very moving to see groups of siblings being baptized together," Wagner said.

Cher Erickson had her three sons baptized at the Mass. "I am so happy and grateful my boys are a part of this school, and that they are learning so much from such an incredible group of people," she said.

Father Shimit Abraham celebrated the Mass, as it emphasized the relationship built between St. Stephen's Parish and Father Lacombe School.

"This celebration really has strengthened the faith of the entire school," Wagner said. "Since the Baptism day, two more parents have approached me wanting their children to be baptized. Faith is infectious."