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Bishop Burbidge Confirms Twenty-two College Students

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Twenty-two college and university students from the Diocese’s six campus ministries received the Sacrament of Confirmation Monday evening, April 11, 2011, at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Raleigh. The sacrament was conferred by the Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge in a ceremony attended by the confirmandi, their sponsors, family members and friends. Concelebrating the Mass were five campus ministers: Msgr. John Wall, Pastor of Newman Catholic Student Center Parish, UNC-Chapel Hill; Father Alex Gonzalez, the Doggett Center for Catholic Campus Ministry at North Carolina State University; Father Bill Quigley, CICM, Newman Catholic Student Center at East Carolina University; Father Michael Martin, OFM Conv, Duke Catholic Center; Father Gerry Waterman, OFM Conv, Elon Catholic Campus Ministry.  Sister Rose McNamara, SU, Campus Minister at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington was also present for the ceremony.

“Without a doubt, this is one of the happiest moments of my life,” said Emily Rothen, a freshman at Duke University and native of Baltimore. “When the Bishop anointed me with the Holy Chrism, I felt the love and presence of the Holy Spirit, and the feeling was overwhelming.” 

In receiving the sacrament, the students are now fully initiated in the Catholic faith, having previously received the Sacraments of Baptism and Eucharist. “The time was right and the opportunity was present,” Emily said, noting her being a member of the Duke Campus Ministry community.

That was echoed by other confirmandi. “I never had the time to receive Confirmation,” explained Maggie Rousseau, a freshman at Elon University and native of Boston. “Being a member of the campus ministry program at the school, I took religion classes offered by the program about my faith and now attend Mass every Sunday. At college, it’s different,” Maggie said. “Parents aren’t encouraging you to go. This was my choice. It made me more confident in understanding my faith and knowing who I am.”

For Ryan Marklewitz, it was a longer journey. He is the first member of his family to enter the Catholic Church. “I grew up in another denomination, drifted away, but always felt something was missing in my life. I realized it was religion,” Ryan said. “I explored the Catholic faith and fell in love with it. I am active in the campus ministry program at Elon, and I’m honored to be a member of the Catholic Church.”

In his homily, the Bishop encouraged the newly confirmed to live out their faith on campus and in society, reminding them that the teaching of their faith is often contradictory to the fads of popular culture. “Society has embraced secularism,” Bishop Burbidge said. “We need courageous witness on fire to challenge that. You see the materialistic messages on your campuses that we can find happiness in the things we can accumulate. Not true,” Bishop Burbidge said. “Our lasting joy is found in only one way: saying yes to the Lord, to God’s way, to God’s will.”

The confirmation of the college and university students follows two recent adult confirmation ceremonies presided at by Bishop Burbidge. The total number of adult confirmations conferred by Bishop Burbidge during Lent is 133. Another 1,100 men, women and young people will enter the Church at Easter Vigil Masses throughout the Diocese. That number includes the “Elect,” who will receive Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation, and “Candidates,” who were baptized in other faith traditions and will receive the Sacraments of Eucharist and Confirmation.

Above: Campus Ministers Father Bill Quigley, CICM; Father Gerry Waterman, OFM Conv; Father Michael Martin, OFM Conv; Father Alex Gonzalez; and Msgr. John Wall attending Confirmation of 22 university students.

Above: Maggie Rousseau of Boston after receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation conferred by Bishop Burbidge.

Above: Newly confirmed Ryan Marklewitz and sponsor during ceremony at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Raleigh on April 11.