Conversion: A Year Since Baptism

by Ashley Brown


On Sunday, April 26, 75 members of the Boston College and Saint Ignatius Parish communities celebrated the sacrament of Confirmation at St. Ignatius Church on the Boston College Campus. The Mass was celebrated by the Very Reverend James A. Flavin, V.E. along with Reverend Robert F. VerEecke, S.J., Reverend Anthony Penna, and Reverend Mr. Ronny O’Dwyer, S.J.

While approaching St. Ignatius Church on Sunday afternoon to attend the Confirmation Mass, I greeted Sr. Mary Sweeney, the leader of my own faith formation through the Campus Ministry RCIA program. As I entered through the large wooden doors of the church with Sr. Mary, my mind was drawn back to my own baptism, confirmation, and communion that took place just over one year ago in St. Ignatius. Sitting next to Sr. Mary and watching the candidates and their sponsors process to their places at the front of the church, I reflected on my own confirmation.


One scene that immediately flashed into my mind was from the Sunday Mass following my baptism, confirmation and first communion. I remembered walking down Linden Lane toward the Gasson Chapel, with the stresses of final papers, projects, and my thesis weighing heavy on my thoughts. I remembered entering the chapel and sitting down next to one of my good friends, whom had not only shared in my growth throughout our four years at Boston College, but had also shared in my faith journey as my sponsor. Before the Mass began, Fr. Penna approached me to say that, during my initiation into the Catholic Church, he could see me filled with the Holy Spirit.


Throughout the days, weeks, and months following this scene, I found myself stopping to reflect on what it meant to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Fr. Flavin’s homily during the confirmation Mass on Sunday reminded me of my reflection.


Fr. Flavin concluded, “The Holy Spirit will come down on this place and change this world for your lives and for everyone. We need you to walk out that door, go out onto Commonwealth Avenue, and begin to tell the world about Jesus Christ. To begin to change our world in Christ’s ways. To make sure that everybody is loved in this church and every place else in the world.


“It can be done. The disciples received that Spirit 2,000 years ago just as you. And we are sitting here today because of them. That same Spirit is about to come to you to make that change in your life. Jesus Christ needs you.


“Get out there and make a difference. Once you receive the Spirit, your life will never be the same.”


The last line of Fr. Flavin’s homily reminded me of the change I had felt within myself following my initiation into the Catholic faith. A change that was and still is difficult to put into words. However, as I walked out the doors of St. Ignatius Church last spring following my own confirmation, the changes that I felt and reflected on ignited this process of making a difference in the world through Christ’s ways. Although still growing in my faith, my reflection on what is means to be filled with the Holy Spirit and be changed through the process of Confirmation continues to guide me in living my life as a Catholic.  

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