Holy Saturday at St. John by the Sea parish

The Southeast Alaska Catholic
July 22, 2011

By Cathy Bolling
St. John by the Sea parish

The Holy Spirit was quite busy at St. John by the Sea Church in Klawock for this year’s Holy Saturday Vigil. One RCIA candidate was welcomed into the church while several others were baptized.

Stephanie Haseltine’s husband and RCIA sponsor Shawn anoints her shoulder during the blessing of the senses on a Sunday leading up to the Holy Saturday Vigil. In this special blessing, the sign of the cross is first made on the candidate’s forehead, followed by her ears, eyes, lips, heart, shoulders, hands and feet.

Parishioners and guests witnessed the baptism, confirmation and First Eucharist for RCIA Candidate Stephanie Haseltine, who began her RCIA studies at Holy Name Church in Ketchikan. She continued her faith journey at St. John’s after she and husband Shawn, her sponsor, moved to Prince of Wales Island this past winter. In the weeks leading up to the Holy Saturday Vigil parishioners witnessed the rituals of the RCIA process, including signing the book of the elect, presentation of the Creed and the Our Father and the anointing with the oil of catechumens for the blessing of the senses.

At the vigil, Stephanie knelt next to the church’s ceramic baptismal font. As her husband held her, Fr. Perry baptized her with holy water scooped with a clamshell. She was then anointed with the oil of confirmation, sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit, and was the first to receive First Holy Communion that night.

On May 16, Fr. Perry blessed Stephanie and Shawn’s civil marriage during noon mass.

One-year-old Brooke Sharp is held by her mother, Tracey, as she is baptized by Fr. Kenaston.

Also on Holy Saturday, several others were baptized, including 1-year-old Brooke Sharp and 11-year old Hannah Roush. Tracey Blanc held her daughter Brooke over the baptismal font as godparents Ralph and Edith Mackie and Jessica Lee, grandparents Marie and Chris Blanc, and Uncle Charley Blanc (serving mass) watched on. Ralph and Edith Mackie are also Tracey’s godparents.

Hannah Roush’s father Michael held her over the font as Fr. Perry baptized her.

Each of the newly baptized received a baptismal garment, and a lit candle, signifying the light of Christ always with them.

(Photos by Mike Cleary)

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