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First Baptism

St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Mission celebrates first Baptism

Photo: Tanner and Candace Young stand with Father Rick Chenault as he holds their newly baptized daughter, Hayden Joan Young.

St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Mission in Centre celebrated their first baptism. On Aug. 15, the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Hayden Joan Young was baptized. Father Rick Chenault celebrated the Mass and baptism. He says of the occasion: “Every once in a while the Lord lets us experience His grace in a new and powerful way. The baptism of little Hayden Joan Young was particularly memorable for taking place in the context of the Mass of the Assumption and being the first baptism to take place at St. Michael’s.” He added: “The church was full and the joy and hope of new life and the Lord’s grace filled my heart. It was a providential opportunity to reflect on the grace operative in the Blessed Virgin’s life as well as the life of Hayden.”

Hayden’s parents, Tanner and Candace Young, said: “It was a truly an honor for Hayden to be the first one baptized at St. Michael’s. She is a blessing to us, and to be able to share her receiving her first holy sacrament with the members of our parish was an exciting event for us.” Tanner has been a member of the mission since its formation and has lived in Cherokee County his whole life. He and Candace married in 2018 and have attended the mission church together. The couple concluded: “Our Parish family has been very supportive of Hayden and her faith development. They were instrumental in making the baptism ceremony a success, and the church family organized and planned a reception and dinner after … Mass to celebrate the beginning of Hayden’s journey in the faith.”

Charter members Rosalind Tucker and Mary Jones were each ecstatic about the event with Tucker saying, “Speaking for all members at St. Michael's Mission we consider this first baptism another blessing God has bestowed on us, and [we] look forward to many more baptisms.” Jones added: “My heart was overjoyed to witness our first baptism at St. Michael’s. Welcoming this precious soul into the Catholic Church was something I will never forget.”

Father Chenault commented about the Solemnity and the baptism, saying: “The Assumption invites us to rejoice as Mary already experiences the Lord’s victory over sin and death.  In baptism we experience the generosity of the Lord's love and the parents' and godparents’ responsibility to nourish the faith, hope and charity placed in the child’s heart. Following the baptism, the Holy Eucharist invited us into a deeper communion with God and one another. Finally, the reception afterwards was a little foretaste of the eternal heavenly banquet that we are longing to share. In a world filled with darkness, may we keep the light of Christ burning brightly in our hearts!”

St. Michael’s Mission, located in Cherokee County, humbly began their ministry in a daycare center with their first Mass in August of 2010. Father Mark Spruill, then pastor at Our Lady of the Valley in Fort Payne, celebrated the Mass and henceforth began celebrating Mass for the mission every other.

In January of 2014, then Bishop of Birmingham, Bishop Emeritus Robert J. Baker, gave the faith community the name St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Mission. On May 17, 2015, members moved from the daycare center and met for the first time in their current location on Plaza Drive in Centre.

The mission has slowly grown over the last few years and is able to offer Mass every Sunday through the care of Pastor Father Rick Chenault and Father Thomas Nattekkadan, pastor of St. Charles Borromeo in Jacksonville.


First Baptism - Father Chenault

Father Rick Chenault holds newly baptized Hayden Joan Young, daughter of Tanner and Candace Young.