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Catholic Charities of East Tennessee on March 12 marked the 30th anniversary of its Emerald O’ccasion, the organization’s annual fundraising dinner in the Knoxville area.

Bishop Richard F. Stika hosted the dinner along with CCETN Executive Director Sister Mary Christine Cremin, RSM, and the Catholic Charities Action Council.

Father Eric Andrews CSP

Father Eric Andrews CSP

The featured speaker was Father Eric Andrews, CSP, president of the Paulist Fathers and former pastor of St. John XXIII Parish on the University of Tennessee-Knoxville campus.

Father Andrews spoke of Catholic Charities’ impact in the Diocese of Knoxville in assisting the poor and disadvantaged and how he has seen that same spirit in Catholic Charities organizations across the country, including his last assignment as president of Paulist Productions in Los Angeles and in New York, where he now serves.

Known for his extemporaneous renditions in song during homilies and talks, Father Andrews didn’t disappoint as he weaved verses of the Tennessee Waltz and Pennies from Heaven in his remarks – to the delight of the 400 CCETN supporters in attendance.

Knoxville radio personality Hallerin Hilton Hill emceed the event that supports the programs and services of Catholic Charities of East Tennessee. Toys ‘R’ Us received the fourth annual Creating Hope Award.

Catholic Charities of East Tennessee’s Chattanooga Annual Dinner will be held March 26 at the Chattanoogan Hotel to support the most vulnerable in our communities. This fundraiser is in its 33rd year.

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Members of St. Albert the Great Church's 2014 confirmation class and their sponsors are shown with Bishop Stika, Father Chris Michelson and Father Tony Budnick. Photo by Stephanie Richer

Members of St. Albert the Great Church’s 2014 confirmation class and their sponsors are shown with Bishop Stika, Father Chris Michelson and Father Tony Budnick.
Photo by Stephanie Richer

Signs – and side effects – of dwindling participation by high school students in the sacrament of confirmation have become all too real.

More Catholic teens are opting out of confirmation instruction, swayed by considerable distractions facing all youth in today’s culture. As a result, the high numbers of young Catholics receiving the sacraments of baptism and first Holy Communion in the Diocese of Knoxville are falling by nearly 50 percent for confirmation, which is the full initiation into the Church community and completes the grace of baptism through the gifts of the Holy Spirit that seal or “confirm” the baptized in union with Christ. Confirmation equips Catholics for active participation in the worship and apostolic life of the Church.

Confirmation is the full initiation into the Catholic Church community and completes the grace of baptism through the gifts of the Holy Spirit that seal or “confirm” the baptized in union with Christ. In the Diocese of Knoxville, nearly every parish confirms Catholic youth in their sophomore or junior years of high school, which is when the sacrament is administered in most U.S. dioceses.

As confirmation classes have been shrinking, priests are facing issues on the back end, such as Catholic couples coming to them for marriage instruction when one or both haven’t been confirmed.

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