Molly Canyes, ’15, Staff Writer
On Apr. 7, seven Merrimack College students received the Sacrament of Confirmation while others received their First Communion.
These students met 20 times since last September and worked with Fr. Bill Waters on completing their long journey of faith. They have met on Sunday nights and worked with Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, archbishop of Boston, for the Rite of Election in Boston this past February.
On Apr. 6 the group met for six hours for a day of recollection. Maria Arzu ’15 and Hannah Morley ’13 had already been baptized. Morley was baptized as a Methodist and Arzu as a Catholic.
Both students received their First Communion and Confirmation. “After being confirmed and receiving my First Communion I know that I have created a personal relationship with God and that this whole process has been very informative, rich, fun and we’ve all became friends since September,” said Arzu. “I have always wanted to be confirmed and receive my First Communion and I had no idea that we could get an opportunity to do this here on campus.
“I took it upon myself to sit down and speak to Fr. Bill about it. I encourage others to invest their time to do this because you learn a lot and build relationships with others who are going through this process as well,” she said. However, “it is a process that you have to commit to,” she said.
Morley chose to become a Catholic because her father’s family is Catholic. “I have been asked this question before and for some reason and it’s hard to put in words why I chose to become Catholic,” she said.
“For much of my life, I haven’t been religious but I believed in God. Coming to Merrimack, taking religion classes gave me a feeling that this is the right time.” Morley said she has been excited throughout this process and that Apr. 7 was always the end goal for her and for the other six students.
“It’s been an educational experience and one that I am truly thankful for — this process has educated me on what it really means to be Catholic and what the Catholic Church stands for.
Even though this process is long and overwhelming at many points, I am truly thankful for the experience and the knowledge because I know that it will make me a better Catholic,” she said. Kerry Phelan ’16 and Maegan Cote ’16 were also confirmed.
Phelan said she was finally be able to embrace her Catholic faith. “It means that I am officially a part of the Catholic Church and the community I have always grown up with.
It is my way of sealing my faith with God and saying yes to the mission he has set for me,” she said. Phelan considered that this journey has been really interesting since September but also not what she had expected. Cote said she is excited to have been confirmed.
“It is a way for me become a more active member in the church. Being confirmed gives me the chance to choose for myself and so I took the initiative,” she said. She recommends this process to anyone who is interested in receiving any of the Sacraments of Initiation. Andrew Suttle ’15, and Benjamin Knox ’13 both received First Communion and were baptized.
Suttle said he was not religious by any means while growing up, and being a part of the Catholic faith did not really occur to him until beginning this journey.
“It is a huge commitment and the process since September has been very difficult but worth it,” he said. “With soccer and homework it has been difficult and I knew this coming into this process that meeting every Sunday night would not be easy.”
Suttle noted he was never baptized or confirmed when he was growing up, though he had wanted to be for quite some time; he never knew the process for doing so until coming to Merrimack College.
“I felt like something was not complete and so I chose to do this now because I can put the pieces together,” he said. “At this age I feel like I can gather more knowledge and know more about the religion.”