May 19, 2017

‘Everything is about [the] Church now,’ says Shelbyville parishioner

Gricelda and Tomas Nuñez pose with their children Liliana and Leonardo prior to the Easter Vigil at St. Joseph Church in Shelbyville on April 15. (Submitted photo)

Gricelda and Tomas Nuñez pose with their children Liliana and Leonardo prior to the Easter Vigil at St. Joseph Church in Shelbyville on April 15. (Submitted photo)

By Natalie Hoefer

Gricelda Nuñez’s journey to being confirmed in the Catholic faith at St. Joseph Church in Shelbyville during the Easter Vigil Mass actually began 33 years ago in Texas. She was born and raised there until the age of 15.

It is also where she was baptized into the Catholic faith and received her first Communion. But due to a lack of transportation, that was the extent of her participation in the Church.

“We grew up with practices like praying the rosary, but not the sacraments,” she says.

From ages 15-26, Nuñez lived in Shelbyville, then moved back to Texas for several years with her husband Tomas and their infant daughter.

But hard times brought the Nuñezes back to Indiana to be closer to family in 2015.

By that time, she admits, all was not well in her family.

“We didn’t go to church, we argued,” she says of her and Tomas.

She says the stress was becoming difficult to bear.

And then Nuñez accompanied her sister to Mass at St. Joseph Church in Shelbyville.

“I felt lots of peace when we were there,” she says. “I could focus.”

So she started joining her sister for weekly Mass, driving from Indianapolis to Shelbyville to do so.

Soon her husband and children Liliana and Leonardo—now ages 6 and 2—joined her. From there, life began to improve.

“My relationship with my husband started changing,” says Nuñez. “My kids got baptized. We joined the hospitality group, so we welcome people and serve as ushers. My daughter is taking Bible classes. I read the Bible. The children dressed as saints for Halloween, and we passed out prayers with candy.”

To grow even more in the faith, there were two sacraments Nuñez sought: confirmation and a blessing of her civil marriage.

In the Church, adult Catholics who only need to be confirmed in order to complete the sacraments of initiation—baptism, Eucharist and confirmation—can utilize a parish’s RCIA program to learn the teachings and traditions of the Church. This was the route that Nuñez went.

“I learned a lot,” she says. “I learned the prayers and what they mean. Pam and Gary [McClure, St. Joseph’s RCIA director and her husband] explained the importance of the sacraments.

“These past months, I have enjoyed so much coming to class, sitting with some awesome [people] and learning more and more the word of the Lord.”

Adult Catholics who go through RCIA specifically in preparation for the sacrament of confirmation are typically confirmed by the archbishop or another bishop at a special Mass on Pentecost Sunday.

But sometimes, as a pastoral response, a diocesan bishop can make an exception and give the pastor permission to confirm at the Easter Vigil an adult in need of that sacrament alone.

So it was that at the Easter Vigil at St. Joseph Church, Nuñez was finally confirmed in the faith she was baptized into 33 years prior.

“It was a very nice experience,” she says. “As soon as [he] laid [his] hands on my head, I felt something different.”

Much has changed in the Nuñez family since Gricelda accompanied her sister to Mass a year and a half ago.

“We pray at every meal, we pray the rosary when we drive,” she says of her, Tomas and their two children. “We pray as a family.”

And she and Tomas will have their marriage blessed in a ceremony on July 15.

“I’m thankful every day,” says Nuñez. “[This journey] seriously impacted me, my family, my kids. We’re more united.

“Everything is about [the] Church now.” †


Related: See a list of those received into the full communion of the Church since Easter

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