Nine students confirmed, one baptized at RCIA Mass


Students smile with Bishop Peter Libasci and Brother George Rumley, O.S.B. after receiving sacraments at RCIA Mass. (Courtesy / Campus Ministry)

Kathryn Williams, Editor in Chief

Through Campus Ministry’s RCIA program, the Church celebrated one student baptism and 8 confirmations this weekend. 

Bishop Libasci was a busy visitor at the Abbey Church that weekend. After ordaining Father Titus Phelan, O.S.B. to the priesthood on Saturday, he returned to celebrate the sacraments of baptism and confirmation on Sunday evening.

In his homily, Bishop Libasci compared the graces of the sacraments with timeless acronyms in everyday communication. Way back when sending letters was the best means to communicate with loved ones across the sea, he explained that many letters were signed SWAK, sealed with a kiss. “This means I don’t see you now but I love you, I haven’t forgotten you. We may be physically apart but we are together spiritually,” explained Bishop Libasci. He also referenced “143,” which means “I love you” and would often be used by soldiers signing letters to home. “You are going to experience these same moments through the Holy Spirit,” he said. The students being anointed with the sacred chrism represents being sealed with the kiss of God’s love through the Holy Spirit.

“It would be difficult to overstate the blessings involved in the sacramental formation of students, not only for them but for me as well,” said Brother George Rumley, O.S.B. who facilitates the RCIA program through Campus Ministry. “This liturgy is among the most jubilant of the year because the family of faith witnesses new brothers and sisters meeting God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in a new way for the first time,” he continued. 

Nolan Howard ’26 received the sacraments of baptism and confirmation on Sunday. “ It was a great experience for me, to be able to join the Church in this way. I am really glad that I was able to do this at the monastery, where I spend most of my time in Church,” said Howard. 

Jacob Akey ’24 was confirmed and sponsored by his roommate Patrick Marcoux ’23. “The RCIA mass was a special one. I was so grateful to my friends and roommates who showed up to support me,” said Akey.

“It was an honor to serve as a confirmation sponsor, it’s great to see people willing to prioritize faith and the church despite all the distractions from college,” said Marcoux.

“I like to remind the students who enroll in this course that they are not simply making a choice; they are responding to a call, to a longing for God that has been inflamed in various ways that are just as unique as the students themselves,” said Br. George.

“It was a long time coming; we’d been meeting as an OCIA (RCIA) class since October. Each Sunday, the group of us who were confirmed would meet with Brother George in a conference room off the lower church and learn about a new tenet of the Catholic Church and, importantly, why that teaching or rule exists. Almost every session we’d watch a video from some great evangelist, like Bishop Robert Barron,” explained Akey. 

Each of the confirmands chose a patron saint that resonated with them to take on as their confirmation name. Jacob Akey ’24 chose Saint John Henry Newman. Isabelle Gross ’26 chose Saint Augustine. Sadie Hall ’25 chose Saint Bernadette. Nolan Howard ’26 chose Saint Ansgar. Kaylee LaBella ‘25 chose Saint Juliana. Harry Murphy ’26 chose Saint Gregory. Quinn O’Rourke ’23 chose Saint Catherine. Jack Pedro ’25 chose Saint Michael. Zach Roughan ’24 also chose Saint Michael. 

“My chosen saint is Saint Ansgar, the Patron Saint of Scandinavia. I chose him due to his persistence in the region of the world that I love, Scandinavia,” said Howard.

“One of my greatest hopes is that our time together—during which we can barely scratch the surface of the Church’s rich tradition of truth, beauty, and goodness—ignites in them a desire to keep learning, keep praying, and keep aspiring for holiness along with their fellow believers,” said Br. George. 

Nolan Howard and his confirmation sponsor/godfather talk with Bishop Libasci. (Courtesy / Nolan Howard.)