Overbrook Academy students take next step on faith journey

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GREENVILLE — Overbrook Academy celebrated an important occasion on Wednesday, February 28, as 26 students received the sacrament of confirmation during a Mass in the school’s chapel.

Bishop Thomas J. Tobin presided over the sacrament, while school Chaplains Father Joseph Gillespie and Father Edward McIlmail concelebrated the Mass. During the homily, Bishop Tobin congratulated the candidates on their willingness to make a commitment to their faith and assured them the Holy Spirit would guide them through the challenges ahead.

“This is a very important and special moment in your lives as young Catholics, and we’re very proud of you and very grateful to you to be willing to continue your journey in the faith,” he said.

“I like to refer to confirmation as an exchange of gifts,” he continued. “Today you give a gift to God. That’s the gift of your faith. You come here today to renew your faith, to renew your commitment to Jesus and the Church. And in return, God sends you the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Overbrook Academy is a Catholic international boarding school for girls in grades six through nine located in Greenville. Most of its students come from countries in Latin America and Asia and remain at the school for one year to study and improve their English before returning home. The school is staffed by Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi, who provide spiritual as well as academic formation to the students.

For many of the students, the day’s Mass marked an important milestone in their lives as young Catholics. Fatima Gallego, a native of Mexico, was among those who received the sacrament of confirmation. She chose as her confirmation name Our Lady of Fatima, for whom she is named.

“It was very special because now I feel like I have the Holy Spirit with me,” she said following the Mass.

Fatima was joined by her mother, Martha Gallego, who traveled from Mexico City to attend her daughter’s confirmation and participate in a mothers’ weekend at the school. While Fatima knew her mom would be in town later in the week, she was happily surprised on Wednesday morning to learn she would also be present for the confirmation.

“I didn’t know the Academy, so it’s special for me to see where she’s studying and to get to meet the mothers,” said Martha.

Jaein Kim, a native of South Korea, also received the sacrament of confirmation and was joined by her mother, Catherine Kim. Jaein chose as her confirmation name St. Maria Goretti, whom she said she admired because of her ability to forgive.

“I had a lot of faith but with confirmation, I got more faith and now I feel grateful for the Holy Spirit. And I think it’s special to have it in another country,” she said.

“I’m so proud of her,” added Catherine. “She used to be an altar girl in Korea, so I hope her faith will be stronger than before.”