“They Have Been Waiting For You” – Oklahoma Confirmations 2020

by Lisa Lyhane

After disappointing delays due to the church shutdown, the parish of St. Damien of Molokai in Edmond, Oklahoma ushered in the month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in a grand way when St. Damien’s pastor Fr. Simon Zurita notified the religious education catechists that Confirmation and First Holy Communions would take place. It did not take long to spread the exciting news that, after weeks of waiting, it was time for the girls to steam their white dresses and the boys to pull out their suits.

With a quick two-week notice, plans were set in motion to accommodate the Confirmation candidates, their sponsors and their parents in a space that had been reduced by half. Normally, a full church and a large indoor reception would follow, but this year, the good Lord would provide a perfect early summer evening, and on June 2nd, 2020, an excited group of 23 candidates were presented to His Excellency Paul Coakley to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation and to become soldiers of Jesus Christ. After the Confirmations took place, the confirmandi and their families spilled outside for pictures and a joyous reunion after having been separated since mid-March, when catechism classes were abruptly halted.

His Excellency Paul Coakley, Archbishop of Oklahoma City, preaches to the St. Damien’s Confirmation Candidates

Confirmation season in the Oklahoma City Diocese keeps Archbishop Coakley busy every day during the spring, but with the church shutdowns this year, Confirmations were completely backed up. Confirmation catechist Terry Lyhane spoke with the Archbishop about this and found out that His Excellency had been able to administer the sacrament at his own Cathedral parish two days before and said that St. Damien’s was the second and the last Confirmation he would do this season, since he was just unable to go to the others due to the scheduling difficulties. He was giving the parish priests the permission to administer the sacrament in those parishes. St. Damien’s was deeply touched that His Excellency was able to do this for our parish, and as one of the attendees said to His Excellency, “The children have been waiting for this  – they have been waiting for you.”

St. Damien’s 2020 Confirmandi

To take the sting out of not being able to have the usual refreshments, the confirmandi were treated to their very own “take-out” boxes of cupcakes, and each of them was presented with a plaque with their picture, along with a picture and short bio of their chosen patron saint.

The festive atmosphere continued through the first week of June, as a total of 17 children, who had been waiting for their Lord in the Holy Eucharist, were able to receive their first Holy Communion on Friday and Saturday, June 5th and 6th, 2020. First Communion Catechist Mrs. Janel Apel said, “it was very beautiful and such a treat to be in the church.”

After weeks of parking lot and on-line Masses, St. Damien’s parishioners are overjoyed to be back “in the church.” Father has added an extra Sunday Mass to accommodate us during this time, and the parish continues to grow with new faces every week.

St. Damien Catholic Church invites all those who are in the vicinity or just passing through to join us for daily and Sunday Mass at our location on 8455 NW 234th Street, Edmond, Oklahoma 73025. More information on the church can be found at www.saintdamiens.org.

July 16, 2020