Children are enrolled in faith formation classes throughout the academic year at St. Viator Catholic Community in Las Vegas. They work with Viatorians and parish catechists to prepare for the sacraments.

Fr. Richard Rinn, left, describes Associate Deacon Michael Underwood as “indispensable.”

Along the way, unusual circumstances pop up and the need to readjust the timing for receiving the sacraments occurs. That was the case earlier this month when nine children, already enrolled in classes preparing them for first Communion and confirmation, were baptized.

Associate Deacon Mike Underwood was on hand to baptize the children. He now is in his fourth year helping out at St. Viator.

“It was an absolute blessing to be able to baptize these children into the church and an inspiration to see how well prepared and excited they all were to receive their first sacrament,” Deacon Mike said. “I look forward to walking with them and their families as they continue to grow in their faith.”

As a full time member of the parish ministry staff, Deacon Mike expected to assist at Masses, visit the sick and officiate at baptisms, funerals and weddings. But over the last three years he has done so much more.

“He’s been indispensable,” says Fr. Richard Rinn, CSV, Pastor.

Associate Rosy Hartz serves as Director of the Faith Formation Program and she too finds the willingness of Deacon Mike to serve, indispensable.

“Deacon Mike is a treasured help when it comes to accommodating families,” she says.

Associate Deacon Mike Underwood and Fr. Larry Lentz, back right, with a first communicant and his family

She points to a young boy who received his first Communion last Sunday at St. Viator’s noon Mass, presided over by Fr. Lawrence Lentz, CSV, and Deacon Mike. Receiving the sacrament, privately and ahead of his classmates was arranged when it was discovered that his godfather would be deployed in April.

The baptisms took place out of a desire by the children’s families to have them fully welcomed into the Catholic faith. The sacrament of baptism is one of three sacraments of initiation, that includes baptism, confirmation and the Eucharist.

“Families want them to know their faith,” Rosy says, “and we welcome those of all ages to come to age appropriate classes so they can prepare for the sacraments.”