Among the annual Easter traditions for many Christians is welcoming new members to the church. About 510 people from the 15-county Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg are expected to join the church this weekend, which is down slightly from last year when 525 entered the fold.
Some are newly baptized (called catechumens), while others are converting after having been baptized in another Christian tradition (candidates). These figures do not include infant baptisms in the Catholic Church, which are recorded separately.
By the way, six of those to be initiated Sunday are from the State Correctional Institution at Coal Township in Northumberland County.
A fitting Word of the Day is neophyte. (Read more at the jump.)
1. A beginner; novice.
2. A new convert to a belief.
Etymology: From Middle English, from Late Latin neophytus, from Greek neophytos (newly
planted), from phyein (to plant).
By the way, to the south, the archdiocese of Baltimore says the number of people converting is up this year. The archdiocese, which includes Baltimore city and nine Maryland counties, said 984 adults are preparing to become Catholics during Holy Week this year, a third more than last year and the most this decade.
Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien says the reasons are not clear, but the increase comes amid a decline nationwide, the AP reports. A survey released last month found that the proportion of Americans identifying themselves as Christians has fallen over the past two decades.