A more perfect union with Christ

“I remember being with my daughter at Gesu for Easter, and we were walking past the altar. She bowed past the altar, but I didn’t. She stopped me and said, ‘Mom, you need to bow or genuflect.’ It hit me how she really spoke in reverence of the faith.”

—Kimberly Sims,
whose young daughter, Kyndall, prompted
her family of five to enter RCIA at Gesu Parish

Families, individuals take one step closer to full communion during Rite of Election

Anthony and Kimberly Sims, along with their children Kyndall, Mya, and Jayden, will enter the Catholic Church at Gesu Parish in Detroit this Easter as a family. The Sims are among 1,000 individuals who will either be baptized or receive the sacraments of confirmation and the Eucharist to become full members of the Catholic Church. Photos by Dan Meloy | The Michigan Catholic

Anthony and Kimberly Sims, along with their children Kyndall, Mya, and Jayden, will enter the Catholic Church at Gesu Parish in Detroit this Easter as a family. The Sims are among 1,000 individuals who will either be baptized or receive the sacraments of confirmation and the Eucharist to become full members of the Catholic Church.
Photos by Dan Meloy | The Michigan Catholic

Detroit — A family that prays together, stays together.

If that’s true, then the Sims family will be together for a long time.

This Lent, during the Rite of Election at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament on Feb. 13, the Sims family, among 1,000 people from across the Archdiocese of Detroit, participated in the Rite of Election and the Call to Continuing Conversion, a key step for those coming into the Church at the Easter Vigil.

On Feb. 13 and 14, catechumens and candidates representing 137 parishes gathered with their sponsors and parish representatives at the cathedral to prepare for their full conversion into the Church, writing their names in the Book of the Elect.

For the Sims family, entering the Church at the same time makes it all the more special.

“The best word to describe it is ‘cool,’” said Anthony Sims, who along with his wife, Kimberley, and their adopted children Kyndall, Mya and Jayden will become full members of Gesu Parish in Detroit at Easter.

“The fact we’re all doing it together, all growing together as a unit is amazing,” Anthony Sims said. “All the things we’re learning to grow in the religious experience is great.”

Dan McAfee, director of Christian worship for the Archdiocese of Detroit, holds open the Book of the Elect.

Dan McAfee, director of Christian worship for the Archdiocese of Detroit, holds open the Book of the Elect. 

The Sims’ story started when Kyndall, then a second-grader at Gesu Elementary School, came home with a surprise announcement for Anthony: “Daddy, I want to be baptized.”

“It was quite shocking, with them so young,” Anthony said. “My daughter said she wanted to be baptized. My wife and I said it wouldn’t be right for her to be Catholic on her own. We felt we had to stick together, to do the whole thing as a family.”

This Easter, exactly 1,000 people will join the Church in Metro Detroit. Of those, 419 are catechumens (those who have never been baptized), 372 are candidates for full communion (those who were baptized outside the Church) and 209 are Catholic candidates (those baptized Catholic but who have not received the sacraments of confirmation or first Communion).

During the Saturday morning service, Auxiliary Bishop Arturo Cepeda said the day was about catechumens and candidates coming forward to proclaim, “a more perfect union with Jesus Christ.”

“These candidates are called to be a new witness that God will continue to remind us what’s in our hearts — I belong to you, and you belong to me,” said Bishop Cepeda, who along with Archbishop Allen Vigneron and Auxiliary Bishops Donald Hanchon and Michael Byrnes presided over four Rite of Election ceremonies during the weekend.

Anthony and Kimberly Sims were raised in different Protestant denominations but were impressed with the education and enlightenment they found in Catholicism while taking RCIA classes.

“The education and growth were just amazing,” Anthony said. “We had to be educated, and that was something not exactly pushed at the other churches. The fact we had to take the catechism classes; we had to be taught a little more on what the Church was about.”

Kimberly said the family’s conversion was a product of the educated provided at Gesu.

The couple didn’t want their son, Jayden, to have another year of pre-kindergarten after the state changed the birthdate requirement for public schools, so they enrolled him at Gesu, and soon after, Kyndall and Mya were in the Catholic school system, too.

“When we walked into Gesu, we were so impressed, and the kids took to it like a fish in water,” Kimberly Sims said. “When Kyndall said she wanted to be Catholic, we were so impressed with

Kyndall and Mya Sims write their names in the Book of the Elect Feb. 13 at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament. Dan Meloy | The Michigan Catholic

Kyndall and Mya Sims write their names in the Book of the Elect Feb. 13 at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament.
Dan Meloy | The Michigan Catholic

how much the kids already knew.

“I remember being with my daughter at Gesu for Easter, and we were walking past the altar. She bowed past the altar, but I didn’t. She stopped me and said, ‘Mom, you need to bow or genuflect.’ It hit me how she really spoke in reverence of the faith.”

Across the archdiocese, hundreds of new Catholics have their own conversion stories. During Easter, each of them will stand before the congregation and proclaim their mission to be servants of God, to spread his message as missionaries of mercy.

For people long familiar with Catholicism, this Easter season is a chance to grow in the faith and richness the Church has to offer.

Paul Trumbull of St. John Fisher Chapel University Parish in Auburn Hills grew up in a Catholic household, having been baptized and receiving Communion.

But after becoming a father nearly six years ago, Trumbull had a renewed desire to grow again in the Catholic Church.

“The joy my children have brought me, and to my life-partner and wife, Jillian, cannot be expressed adequately with words,” said Trumbull, who will be confirmed this Easter. “God has given us the greatest gift in the universe. Their coming into this world has made me more committed to seeking out my confirmation.”

With 1,000 people finishing the RCIA process this Easter, there are 1,000 unique stories to share. For Kyndall Sims, her story is bringing her family together, through a desire to receive the Eucharist.

“I wanted to become Catholic because I saw other people when they get to eat the bread and drink the wine, and I wanted to be part of that,” Kyndall said. “At Gesu, you learn about God, and how cool it is that Jesus rose from the dead.

“I then went to my dad, saying I wanted to be baptized, and he was so proud. I brought everyone along; now my family is going to church together, we pray together and we just are closer. And it’s cool I started it all.”