Entering Catholic Church changed Canandaigua student’s life - Catholic Courier
A young man holds a cross as he processes into a church.

Tyler Read processes into a Jan 31. Catholic Schools Week Mass at St. Mary Church in Canandaigua. (Courier photo by Jeff Witherow)

Entering Catholic Church changed Canandaigua student’s life

Few of Tyler Read’s classmates recall the moments when they were baptized. Tyler, however, not only has a clear memory of his own baptism but also the role several of his classmates played in it.

Tyler was baptized June 4, 2022 — the Saturday before Pentecost — at St. Mary Church in Canandaigua, which is part of St. Benedict Parish. He also was confirmed and received the Eucharist for the first time that day.

Tyler’s classmates at St. Mary School had supported him as he prepared to enter the Catholic Church, and two of them were present when he received the sacraments of initiation.

“It felt great because I knew they were there for me and they would help me,” recalled Tyler, who is now 13 and in eighth grade at the Canandaigua school.

Student hungered for the Eucharist and a closer relationship with God

Tyler comes from a Catholic family, and most of his family members were baptized at much earlier ages, but Tyler hadn’t been particularly bothered by the fact that he was never baptized. That changed in 2020, when he transferred to St. Mary School in sixth grade.

“It just clicked in me. I wanted to be closer with God and learn more about him and his teachings,” he explained.

As he watched his classmates, particularly at school Masses, he began to realize that he was missing out, according to Mercy Sister Laurie Orman, middle-school religion teacher at St. Mary.

“He was going up at Communion, and he would be blessed but he couldn’t receive Communion,” she explained.

Tyler eventually asked St. Benedict’s pastor, Father Michael Costik, when he could be baptized.

“You could see the hunger for wanting to receive the Eucharist, and he knew he needed to be baptized for that,” Sister Orman said.

When Tyler and his family ran into obstacles that made it hard to determine how and when he could be initiated, Sister Orman offered to guide him through the process.

“I had another student that was interested, and so I just worked with them, because I have them for 80 minutes a day for religion,” she said. “He already knew a lot of what he needed to know.”

Toward the end of the process — and with Tyler’s blessing — Sister Orman told his classmates that he was preparing to be baptized, confirmed and receive the Eucharist.

“Some of them did cheer or clap in class when Sister Laurie said it,” Tyler recalled. “It made me feel good and kind of nervous.”

Student is baptized, confirmed and receives in memorable liturgy

When Pentecost weekend finally arrived, two of Tyler’s friends were among the many people who came to church to support him.

“It was nerve-wracking. I was nervous because my whole family was there — mom, dad, aunts and uncles, cousins. My mom and my grandma were excited because they both wanted me to be baptized because I wasn’t baptized when I was younger,” he remarked.

Tyler said the most memorable part of the liturgy was the baptism itself. After Father Costik called him to the baptismal font at the back of church, Tyler bent over the font, laying his head sideways so the priest could pour water over his head.

”I was turning red because all the people were staring at me,” he added.

After the liturgy was over, Tyler went downstairs to the parish’s Dougherty Hall to celebrate with family members, fellow parishioners and friends.

Becoming Catholic had lasting effect on student and his peers

Watching a classmate intentionally choose to enter the Catholic Church and prepare to do so was a powerful experience for Tyler’s classmates, Sister Orman said.

“It was just a nice, gentle reminder of the sacraments and what was given to them as a baby,” she said.

For his part, Tyler now wears a happy smile as he goes forward to receive the Eucharist at St. Mary’s monthly school Masses, Sister Orman said, adding that the experience changed him in other ways as well.

“It has changed who he is and how he gives to others,” she said, noting that he spent a good portion of his summer helping volunteers set up for the parish festival — without being asked. “He always had that very caring sense to him, and I feel like this enhanced that.”

Tyler said he can feel the change in himself as well. Now that he’s a full-fledged Catholic, he said listening and caring for others come more naturally for him, and he finds peace in the knowledge that God is listening to him.

Tyler said he would encourage others who may feel drawn to the Catholic Church to open the door to God, who is already waiting for them.

“You’re accepting God to come into your life, and you’re not pushing him away,” he explained.

EDITOR’S NOTE: “Profiles in Faith” highlights Catholics in the Diocese of Rochester of all ages and walks of life who are role models for living the faith. To suggest someone to profile, email Newsroom@CatholicCourier.com.

Tags: Ontario County News, Profiles in Faith
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