Three hundred thirty-one people will enter into full communion with the Catholic church at the Easter Vigil in April.
This afternoon at St. Joseph Church in New Orleans, Archbishop Gregory Aymond welcomed many of those who worship in parishes south of Lake Pontchartrain and encouraged them to continue their studies leading to Easter.
The archbishop will hold another ceremony Monday night at Most Holy Trinity Church in Covington.
"This is a joyous day," Archbishop Aymond told them. "Each of us has a story. There are no two that are alike. But one thing each story does contain is something about God and something about other people."
The archbishop greeted two distinct groups: catechumens (those who have not yet been baptized) and candidates (those who have been baptized).
Catechumens will receive the sacraments of initiation (baptism, confirmation and the Eucharist) at the Easter Vigil in their parish churches. After meeting the archbishop and being called into the sanctuary, they are now known, the archbishop said, as "the elect."
Candidates will receive the sacraments of confirmation and the Eucharist at the Easter Vigil.
One of the candidates was Elizabeth Frazer of Our Lady of the Rosary Parish, who walked up the aisle holding her three-month-old son Thomas. Elizabeth's husband and sponsor, Andrew Frazer, escorted his wife, carrying their 22-month-old daughter Madeleine.