A new Catholic and his sponsor, a cradle Catholic, John and Naomi Faro
While our daughter Naomi was working as a Labor and Delivery Nurse at the University of Cincinnati Hospital and her boyfriend, John Faro was a medical student at the University of Cincinnati Medical School, she brought her beaux home for dinner a number of times. After all, they both grew up in Gallia County and graduated from the same Gallia Academy High School.
At one dinner I told John: “We are not asking you to become Catholic”. They were already going to Sunday Mass every week together. “We do not want you to become Catholic because of Naomi because too often the family is happy, but the convert drifts away not long after the marriage itself. We’re only asking you to learn about the Catholic Faith because you should know the elements of the faith of your possible spouse and children. Yes, we want you to become Catholic, but only if you are convinced of the truth of the Catholic Church.” In other words, entry into the Church must be his decision.
They were married at St. Mary’s Church in Cincinnati by my brother Deacon John V. Sebastian on December 28, 2020 in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic during the semester break during his third year of medical school. For the whole story go to A COVID WEDDING…..NAOMI MARIE SEBASTIAN + JOHN FARO: Two Gallia County Rural Ohio Residents Who Discovered Each Other in the Big City.
John’s third and fourth year of Medical School quickly passed, but the schedule was much too tight with clinicals to permit weekly instruction in the faith as part of an RCIA (Rite of Catholic Initiation for Adults) class. John definitely was interested in learning about the faith and becoming Catholic. Our pastor of St. Louis Church Gallipolis agreed to give him a one on one tutorial before graduation, but the schedule was again much too tight. John graduated from the University of Cincinnati Medical School as an M.D. on May 1, 2022.
Finally, John had his break whilc a resident doctor at the Kettering Hospital in Dayton. They regularly assisted at Mass at the nearby Wright State University Newman Center. The RCIA program every Sunday over the 2022-23 academic year fit their schedule and John was on track to be received into the Catholic Church during the Easter Vigil 2023. He raved about his instructor Nicholas Kovatch, one of the Campus Ministers and the Chaplain, Fr. Tim Fahey. Until the Easter Vigil John was free to back out and reject entry into the Church.
The result was the most exciting Easter Vigil our family ever had. Our son-in-law, John Faro was received into the Catholic Church on April 8, 2023. This Easter Vigil was such a momentous occasion for us that John-Paul, Elizabeth, and Juan Pablito flew in from Dallas; Joseph drove in from Atlanta where he works as a software developer for Microsoft; Stephanie, Daniel, and Anselmito drove from Front Royal, Virginia where Daniel teaches literature at Christendom College.
Our entire family on the Sebastian side were present for the long Easter Vigil Mass. The liturgy began in darkness without any of the solemn smells and bells which ceased after the Gloria on Holy Thursday. The Paschal Candle was lit in anticipation of the glorious Resurrection of Christ, the light of the world as He had promised. At the same time the flame was passed on to each individual holding a small candle. The light of the world became evident among so many lit candles. The special liturgy continued with a selection of seven readings from the Old Testament (Genesis, Exodus, Isaiah, Baruch, and Ezekiel) followed by St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans and the Gospel of Matthew. The readings pointed to the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Since John and the three other Catechumens were already validly baptized in other faiths with the proper form, the Baptism ritual was omitted. However, the renewal of the Baptismal promises were included. Normally, the sacrament of Confirmation is only administered by the local Bishop. But a priest may administer this sacrament during the formal reception into the Church. In the following photo John with Naomi at his side receives the sacrament of Confirmation in the Faith which is really a deepening of the Sacrament of Baptism and the Holy Spirit is formally invoked to help the receiver to live and defend the faith even to the point of death.
Dr. John Faro chose as his Confirmation name, Giuseppe as a model to follow. St. Dr. Giuseppe Moscati is known as the doctor of the poor, a saintly doctor of the late 19th and early 20th century. We’re so proud of John for choosing as his Confirmation name Guisseppi (Moscati), the saint who was a medical doctor and devoted his life to follow in the footsteps of the great healer. You can access this inspiring Italian movie with English subtitles at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kac3OHtQ6MgSt. Giuseppe Moscati: Doctor to the Poor”. His name translates to Joseph.
John Faro receives the sacrament of Confirmation.
The beauty of the Mass is really miraculous in which the Last Supper (the Consecration of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ Himself) and the sacrifice of Calvary are made present and brought to us in a mysterious unbloody way as we offer Christ in the Eucharist to the Father. As the Jews would consume the unblemished lamb of sacrifice, we consume the undefiled Lamb of God, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity. Thus John Faro received his first Holy Communion under both species, together with his wife, Naomi and us too moments later.
For a few moments the communicant is in close contact with the almighty infinite God who loves us so much as to make this possible along with the accompanying graces, i.e., food for the journey to eternity. How awesome is that?
In the Gospel of John Chapter 6, our Lord explicitly stressed that the Eucharist (Holy Communion) is essential to salvation: “Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever" (John 6:54-59).
Is any of this beyond God? Of course not. He can do all things. For a scientifically investigated physical miracle 13 centuries old or sign by God of the authenticity of the Eucharist as the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, go to (281) LANCIANO: THE FIRST AND MOST PROMINENT MIRACLE OF THE EUCHARIST
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (#1324), the Eucharist is the source, the center, and the summit of Catholic life especially in regard to the liturgy (the Mass). Without the Eucharist, there would be no sacrifice and no communion in the deepest sense with the infinite God.
Believe it or not; we all managed to sleep in that one bedroom apartment………11 people including two babies…….couch, air mattress, and floor where John & Naomi slept. The two families occupied the bedroom with their babies. We were going to get an air b & b as we did with the wedding, but Naomi and John opted for this arrangement and we had a great time together. Jaga brought enough food to feed an army. The whole bunch of us worked it off the next afternoon with a long walk.
On Easter morning we all went to Mass together for an encore. Easter Monday was also momentous because the Catholic Newman Center of Wright State University had a Eucharistic procession all over campus. The students were curious, but respectful. We believe that John Faro will be a faithful Catholic for the rest of his days as he follows Jesus Christ, the Great Healer.
Our gang jubilant from left to right: Joseph and John-Paul Sebastian together with his wife Elizabeth and son Juan Pablito, Naomi and Dr. John Faro (the new Catholic), Jaga and Paul Sebastian followed by Stephanie, her son Anselmito, and her husband Daniel Spiotta.
During the rest of Easter Week we had both grandsons and their mothers at our home. More good times. On Easter Friday, Joseph took Elizabeth and Juan Pablito back to Dayton for the flight back to Dallas.
Meanwhile we took Stephanie & Anselmito back to Front Royal in time for the dedication of the magnificent neogothic chapel of Christendom College. It fits so beautifully with the mission of the college. In the middle ages western Europe had a rather unified Christian culture before the Reformation. Today since its founding in 1988, Christendom College has the mission of “restoring all things in Christ” in our secularized western culture. For the video of the dedication of Christ the King Chapel by the Bishop of Arlington go to https://chapel.christendom.edu/2023/04/17/ewtn-broadcast-dedication-of-christ-the-king-chapel/ . Jaga baby sat for our grandson, Anselmito while I watched on EWTN with some 25 students at the old chapel.