Just before classes ended for the year at Holy Family School in Hillcrest Heights, the entire student body gathered at Mass to watch as seven of their classmates were received into the Catholic Church.

The students received either Baptism, First Holy Communion or Confirmation – or all three sacraments – during a Mass celebrated by Washington Auxiliary Bishop Roy Campbell Jr. and Father Kevin Regan, pastor of the parish.

“This is a special occasion for those coming into the life of Christ. This is truly a day of rejoicing,” Bishop Campbell said. “What makes this a special day is that some of God’s children are entering into His divine life.”

The students – eighth-graders Matthew Fleming, Jayden Woods, Jordan Adams and Noah Benson, seventh-grader Antwan Lewis, fifth-grader Jason Adams and second-grader Jayson Evans – prepared for the sacraments with Father Regan.

“These are all young people who have been with our school for a while,” Father Regan said. “We have religion class every day, but this was not just classes for them. This was sacramental preparation for their faith journey.”

Father Regan said that the students were “inspired by the Holy Spirit and their teachers” to enter fully into the Church. “They (the students) said, “I want to follow Jesus’,” he added.

Jayden Woods, a student at the school for six years, said he received his Confirmation because “I wanted to be more a part of the Church that I knew from my religious classes.”

For Noah Benson, who has been a student at Holy Family since pre-kindergarten, being confirmed means “I have to become an adult in the Church. I knew I had to do this and I knew it would change the way I act in church,” he said. “I will now pay attention more and participate more,” he said.

“Jesus gave us reason to understand and to learn what is the right thing to do and the wrong thing to do. You were created to share in His divine life forever,” Bishop

Campbell said before administering the sacraments.

He also told the entire student body gathered for the Mass that their classmates’ souls “will be changed. They can bear witness to the love and Good News of salvation.”