Bishop Richard F. Stika has been giving the sacrament of confirmation at nearly every Diocese of Knoxville parish this spring.
The sacrament was especially eagerly anticipated at one church, which held its first Mass of confirmation and first holy Communion.
Divine Mercy Catholic Mission celebrated milestones for 21 of its youngest members June 15 as nine teens were confirmed and 12 younger children received their first holy Communion.
Some 250 members were in attendance at the Church of Divine Mercy, where the Vietnamese Catholic community was gathered in its new place of worship in West Knoxville.
Bishop Richard F. Stika celebrated the Mass, with Father Hoan Dinh, pastor of Divine Mercy Catholic Mission, concelebrating. Deacon Jim Lawson assisted.
The Divine Mercy community originated in the early 1990s and previously called Immaculate Conception Church and Knoxville Catholic High School home before moving to 10919 Carmichael Road last summer. Bishop Stika dedicated the church in November.
Through a Catholic Foundation of East Tennessee grant, the Catholic mission was able to purchase the Carmichael Road property, formerly the home of Northstar Church, and move to a permanent location.
Bishop Stika concluded the Mass with potentially exciting news for Divine Mercy. The bishop announced that he is ready to recommend that Divine Mercy be elevated to a parish from a mission based on its growth. The news prompted applause from the members.