WOODBURN — Now, a group of young Catholics who received the sacrament of confirmation May 30 at Saint Luke Church here will walk forward, living their faith and strengthened by the Holy Spirit.
The whole church was ready for celebration. Red on the altar signified the Holy Spirit. Choir members in all corners of the church represented the tongues of fire at Pentecost that came to revitalize the apostles and set them on a mission for generations.
These were the points made by Archbishop Alexander Sample, who gave his homily in both English and Spanish. His message was clear for this group of Hispanics who reaffirmed their commitment to continue to belong to the Catholic family.
"Brothers and sisters, today the mystery of Pentecost is renewed among us," he said. "On that day the Lord sent the Holy Spirit, the one who brings us together in one body, in an identical faith. The Holy Spirit is what brings progress to the Church."
The 73 young people listened in silence and then went one by one to receive the sacrament and confirm their faith. The archbishop told them that they were beginning a life of faith in the Holy Spirit.
All Saints chose names to inspire them to live in the present moment and to reaffirm their faith and their commitment to the Catholic Church.
Francisco López, who chose St. Alexander as his confirmation name, said in Spanish: "I was pleased to be confirmed by Archbishop Alexander Sample and chose this name because he wants to help people and has always motivated people." Francisco, 16, said he felt ready. "It's an opportunity to be united to the whole Catholic community and in the process I learned what it means to be Catholic."
Jenny Canales, 18, was part of the procession and recession. She carried the cross and served on the altar. She called it an honor to serve in the rite and help Archbishop Sample. "It seemed like a very nice ceremony," Canales said. "I was happy to meet our new archbishop. I had the opportunity to talk with him and he seemed very kind and respectful to everyone."
Woodburn is one of the epicenters of Oregon's Hispanic community. Whole families come and Hispanic settlement has been under way for generations. The confirmation was an opportunity for the new archbishop to establish contact with a community that is full of faith.