Heidi Sierras of Ceres will have an honor unknown to most of the world's millions of Catholics. She will be baptized by Pope Benedict XVI at the main altar of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. It will happen during the Easter Vigil, the most important Mass of the year.
Sierras was selected a year ago for the rare honor and will represent North America. The pope baptizes seven people a year, representing the seven continents of the world. All seven are joining the Catholic faith and have attended classes at their local parish for a minimum of two years.
Sierras left for Italy last week and has been staying in a convent near the historic St. John Lateran Church, where she has been attending daily services and touring sacred sites in Rome. Her husband, Daniel, and the couple's two oldest children, Ethan, 10, and Kayla, 9, are with her. Two younger children, Logan, 4, and Eleanor, 3 months, stayed behind with relatives.
About 30 other members from her church, St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Modesto, also are in Rome for the event, led by the pastor, the Rev. Joseph Illo.
EWTN will broadcast, live, the Easter Vigil from noon to 2:30 p.m. today. The Bee will bring you photos and a story of the day in Sunday's edition and online at modbee.com.
A new life and new birth on Easter Sunday. Join the celebration.
Bee staff writer Sue Nowicki can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2012.