The Fiancée Diaries: Baptism and Confirmation at St. Francis Jebel Ali

Yesterday, we ticked off one item from our to-dos for the loooong list of wedding requirements for a Catholic wedding in the Philippines. Exaggerating on the “long” part but the docs are quite tedious to collect especially if you’re based overseas.

The situation is this: Fiancé was baptized a Protestant, thus he has to undergo quite a few sacraments than I do. I, on the other hand, wasn’t confirmed yet. Don’t ask me why coz I don’t have an answer for you, too. So, if we want to get married in a Catholic ceremony, then, we need to provide our baptismal and confirmation certificates. We are bound for Manila in September for a week and the next one will be on December itself, a week and a half before the wedding day. But these days are filled with meetings, fittings, legal docs processing and what-have-yous so we definitely have no time to accommodate this requirement, even one-day baptismal and confirmation in San Miguel Church in Malacanang. I personally don’t want to settle with the express process because it kinda defeats the purpose of receiving these important sacraments.

Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults - St Francis Jebel Ali-1

Thinking that getting these sacraments won’t take that long; we purposely placed it around June/July in our calendars. We have set it in stone that we will do all of these in Dubai. Before May ended, we inquired with St. Mary’s Church only to find out that it will take 18 weeks for the full-blown conversion and confirmation. 8 weeks if you only need confirmation. That didn’t quite fit our schedule so we had to look for other ways.

We checked the list of Catholic churches in the country and checked with them. Sharjah’s St. Michael would take a year! St. Joseph in Abu Dhabi was shorter with only a week (but you have to do it everyday). Our last bet was St. Francis in Jebel Ali. Their adult baptism/confirmation will be finished within 10 weeks.

So, Jebel Ali Church it is! They told us to come the next Friday and join the weekly Catechism classes. Though it has started 2 Fridays earlier, we can come and catch up on what we’ve missed. Nice!

Over the course of the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) program, we touch based on different topics that introduced Catholic beliefs and practices to those that are new to the religion and add up knowledge to those who are already Catholics. We found these Friday Catechism classes refreshing and eye-opening as well. I’m proud to say that we didn’t miss any of the classes! And that despite travelling an hour to Jebel Ali from Oud Metha, we never came in late. :D

Among all the classes we’ve had, we personally liked the 2-day quick journey through the Bible. About 6 to 7 hours each day, we tackled the stories from the Old Testament through the New Testament. To be honest, I’m one of those people who never understood the Bible and I never looked at it as one cohesive story. Well, not until that day. Everything made perfect sense and I felt blessed and happy to finally be enlightened. I think this part of the program is open to everyone so I suggest that everyone attend this 2-day class.

Six Fridays later, we are finally baptized and confirmed. (I know I’ve said 10 weeks earlier, but due to the upcoming holiday, our catechist extended the class hours to cover 2 Fridays worth of topics in each meeting) On the morning of July 2, the fiancé was baptized a Catholic, and then received the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Confirmation. I, on the other hand, got confirmed on the evening of the same day.

Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults - St Francis Jebel Ali-2

I’m glad we did not do it the express way (one day baptism/confirmation in Manila). I’m also thankful, somehow, that I got confirmed a little late because I attended the classes when I’m more receptive and matured enough to understand. Last, but definitely not the least, I’m blessed to have shared this journey with my fiancé. Should we be blessed to start a family right after marriage, we already have a good Catholic foundation.

Ahhh, 164 days to go!!!

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