Article by Daphne Palasi Andreades
Photos by Josie Solano and Ruth Balageo
Rain and icy weather did not deter Diocese of Long Island Assistant Bishop Chilton Knudsen from traveling to St. John’s Episcopal Church in Flushing, Queens, on January 18th, where eight young adults were to be confirmed.
Bishop Knudsen arrived smiling and brimming with energy to greet the candidates. She spoke with them before their confirmation.
Some candidates expressed nervousness before the ceremony. “I felt kind of scared for some reason,” said Beret Solano, age 15. “But after, I realized it wasn’t that bad, and I felt even closer to the church.”
According to the Book of Common Prayer, “Confirmation is the rite in which we express a mature commitment to Christ, and receive strength from the Holy Spirit through prayer and the laying on of hands by a bishop”.
The thoughtfulness and hard work that was put into producing such a beautiful service was appreciated. Bishop Knudsen was the celebrant and preacher. She was assisted by the Rev. Deacon Charlie Perrin and the Very Rev. Dario Palasi.
Another significant part of the service included a tribute to the Filipino cultural heritage of the primarily Filipino-based congregation. During the processional and recessional several men performed gangsa, an indigenous Filipino dance which uses gongs.
Following the Eucharist, members of St. John’s sung a lively song written in Tagalog pertaining to duty and responsibility.
The climax of the service undoubtedly was when Bishop Knudsen placed her hands on the candidates’ heads as they reconfirmed their commitment to Christ. Equally meaningful was when the congregation vowed to support each young adults’ walk with the Lord. Once all the candidates were confirmed, the congregation burst into a joyous applause.
“For me, being confirmed felt like a rite of passage,” said one candidate.
The celebration continued during the potluck luncheon that took place after the service. Fellowship included conversing over Filipino dishes such as lumpia, pancit, and menudo, the singing of songs, and more gangsa.
The congregation was delighted to learn that Bishop Knudsen spent her early years in Baguio, Philippines – where many of St. John’s Filipinos are from -- while her father was in the Navy. Bishop Knudsen stepped onto the stage to join two singers and a guitarist as they sang a Tagalog ballad, Dahil Sa Iyo, “Because of You,” which was met with cheers and much applause.