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Bishop Schlert Presides Over Confirmation Mass

by Janelle Hill M’23 May 7, 2024
Confirmation Mass_DSC2933

We say welcome.  

That’s how the Most Reverend Alfred Schlert, Bishop of Allentown, greeted the newest members of our Catholic community during a special Confirmation Mass in Connelly Chapel on April 14.

Four students—Briahna Milander ’26; Kenia Romero ’26; Meagan Rita Sproul ’26; and Francesca Gannon, an international student—along with Scott Sargent, a local community member, took part in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults at DeSales. The program offers adults of varying backgrounds the opportunity to fully enter in communion with the Catholic Church. 

Bishop Schlert encouraged all in attendance to recall their own baptisms, confirmations, and Holy Communions, and to be as awestruck now as they were back then. Welcoming the newest members, he had a simple message: we embrace you. 

“When you walk out of Church today, you walk out of this Church fully members with all of us. You are making a choice for salvation. It’s not just for membership in a global body; you are making yourself now part of the body of Christ, which is the Church.”

 Most Reverend Alfred Schlert, Bishop of Allentown

For Francesca Gannon, being both baptized and confirmed on campus was especially meaningful. Gannon is from Northern Ireland and came to DeSales last summer as part of the Study USA programme, which is run by the British consulate and sends dozens of students from Northern Ireland to the United States each year. 

Francesca Gannon and Bishop Schlert at Confirmation Mass

“At home, I hadn’t really been affiliated with the Church,” she said. “But I lost my mom a few years ago. That made me question what I really believed.” 

After she arrived on campus, Gannon began going to services at Connelly Chapel with her roommate and friends. Learning from their experiences and attending those services inspired her to join the RCIA program.

“I felt a longing to be a part of it, and to start my life being baptized; a new beginning in the Church,” Gannon said. 

Participants met monthly in the office of Father Dan Lannen, OSFS, University chaplain, to discuss different aspects of the Church—everything from the liturgical calendar to the Apostles’ Creed. 

Gannon describes the program as a beginner’s guide to Catholicism that’s both accessible—meeting students where they are in the process—and community-oriented. 

“I feel like everyone is invested in me and my life, and it’s special,” she said. “Father Dan has been so helpful; he explains things in such a clear way. I’ve learned so much and I’ve grown as a person, especially coming to the U.S. and having all of these new experiences. It just felt very right to do it here.”