Four SLU siblings move toward full membership in the Catholic Church
Most Catholics now receive the sacrament of Confirmation in early adolescence, but four members of the Lammert family are all getting confirmed together this Easter season through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults program at SLU. Gerard, Chadd, Jared and Cindy, all students or graduates of SLU, have been preparing for their confirmation together since early September of this year though RCIA.
Although all four Lammerts were baptized and raised Catholic, it was not until recently that they took the initiative to become full-fledged adult members of the Church. Confirmation is a sacrament of initiation in the Catholic Church and marks the reception of the Holy Spirit in the confirmant, as well as a renewal and deepening of the vows first taken at baptism.
In confirmation, a member of the Church takes full adult responsibility for his or her relationship with Christ and the Church. Back in junior high and high school, when most who are raised Catholic would be confirmed, the Lammerts were all busy children and teenagers.
Cindy cited sports as the main reason that she never got around to taking confirmation classes, and the others nodded in agreement. When asked how they decided to be confirmed now, all looked to Jared, 20, and he became the spokesperson for the family. Jared stated that when he came to SLU, he always enjoyed going to 9 p.m. Mass on Sundays with his friends and siblings.
At the end of last year, he saw the announcement for RCIA for the upcoming year, decided to finally go for confirmation, and convinced his siblings to do the same.
Going through the preparation for confirmation can be a moving experience for everyone, but even more so for the Lammerts, who had the privilege of going through it together.
“I feel like it’s been a stronger experience for us because we’re doing it together,” Cindy, 19, said. “Stronger on a personal level.”
Jared agreed, saying he not only wanted to get confirmed but wanted to get confirmed with his siblings because “it would also be an important bonding experience for us as a family.”
When asked how they feel going into the ceremony, which is now only a little more than a week away, after so many months of preparation, they respond with only one word: “excited.”
Father Nick Smith is the RCIA coordinator for SLU and will be presiding over the Mass during which the rites of initiation will be celebrated.
Smith saw the benefits that the Lammerts have gotten from their experience together.
The RCIA group is supposed to form a community, so the candidates for confirmation can support each other as they prepare to enter the Catholic Church.“I think when you’ve got your brothers and sisters going through the same thing, that’s going to cause a deeper sense of community to happen,” Smith said.
The Lammerts are getting support both from the RCIA community and from each other. He has seen this happening through the past months of preparation.
“Seeing other members of your family would be a sort of boost of faith.”
Catholics are used to hearing about confirmations around the Easter season, but rarely is it a whole family at once. Smith has only seen it happen once before.
“It was very unusual, especially here, in an academic institution,” Smith said.
“But they all happened to go to the same school …. It’s rare but it’s happened before.”
Smith said the whole group in RCIA this year has been very committed and enthusiastic.
“It’s nice to see young people on fire with their faith,” he said.
“That’s the neatest thing about the program.”
The upcoming rites of initiation will be celebrated during the 9 p.m. Sunday Mass on April 15.
RCIA classes take place every year starting in September. Announcements will be made at the beginning of next semester for those interested in being initiated into the Church.