REGINA — A pilot program to bring baptism preparation classes to non-baptized students in two Regina Catholic schools resulted in a class of 35 students who were baptized on three separate Sundays, May 3, 24 and 31.
“We realized that there are non-baptized children in some of our Catholic schools and we wanted to encourage them to receive the sacrament,” said Rev. John Weckend, pastor of St. Cecilia’s Parish in West Central Regina. He and the school principals, Starla Grebinski of Sacred Heart School and James Wahl of St. Francis School, worked to bring the classes to the schools rather than have the parents and children come to the church.
“We had two preparation classes in each school, one in the morning and another in the afternoon. We even arranged transportation for some of the families,” said Weckend. One evening class was also arranged for families who couldn’t come to the school during the day.
He and retired teacher and now pastoral assistant at St. Cecilia’s Marge Appell conducted the classes. “For whatever reason, some of the families could not come to us, so like Pope Francis said we had to go out to them.”
Eight students from St. Francis were baptized May 3, nine from Sacred Heart school had their turn May 24 and the remaining 18 were to be baptized May 31. The children came from all grades and ranged in age from pre-kindergarten to Grade 8. The four Pelletier children were the largest group of the nine from sacred Heart. They ranged in age from two to eight and were resplendent in white.
Following the ceremony, each newly baptized child was presented with the traditional candle and a white stole emblazoned with the baptism symbol. A reception in the church hall followed the ceremony. Sacred Heart School provided the food and the children were presented with gifts from their parents and from their school.
Weckend said the pilot program was successful and hopes to expand it to other schools within the division.