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'As branches to the vine': Eleven university students are confirmed


Eleven students from three campus ministries in the diocese received the sacrament of Confirmation April 20.

The Mass was held at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Raleigh. Monsignor Michael Shugrue, diocesan administrator, celebrated Mass. Concelebrants were: Father Gregory Anatuanya from the UNC-Wilmington Catholic Student Center, Monsignor Joseph Ntuwa from Catholic Campus Ministry at N.C. State University, Father Bill Robinson, O.F.M. Conv., from UNC-Chapel Hill’s Newman Center, Father Justin Ross, O.F.M. Conv., also from UNC-CH, and Father Peter Tremblay, O.F.M. Conv., campus minister at Elon University.

The 11 students represented three universities: Duke, UNC-CH and UNC-W.

In his homily, Monsignor Shugrue congratulated the students on their personal decisions, initiative and willingness to be confirmed. He spoke to the men and women about the Holy Spirit, trials of life and the need to be steadfast on the journey of faith.

“God is even now making all things new,” he said. “We should allow ourselves to be guided by the Holy Spirit. How beautiful it would be if, at the end of the day, we could say, ‘Today I showed a sign of love for [another].’”

Monsignor Shurgue also encouraged the candidates to “remain united to God as branches are united to the vine.”

Estelle McQueen, a senior at UNC-CH, began the process toward Confirmation in the fall of 2016, after months of considering her faith and visiting many churches. Her friend Stephanie Okonmah-Obazee, who would become her confirmation sponsor, first invited Ms. McQueen to Mass at the Newman Center and encouraged her to think about Catholicism.

“Today was the day,” Ms. McQueen said with a smile after her Confirmation. “What better time than now? I am going to see what else I can do within the Church now. This is one step, and it’s definitely not the last step.”

Those “steps” in a faith journey are familiar to Sister Rosemary McNamara, S.U., a campus minister at UNC-W.

“I have the priviledge of journeying with them from when they say ‘I want to be confirmed’ to exploring their faith ... deepening their relationship with God … attending the retreat and to today,” she said. “Their ‘yes’ is a heartfelt ‘yes.’”