Meet The Candidates

Meet the RCIA Elect and Candidates 


My name is Ariel Salazar. I am a college student attending NHCC. I joined the RCIA to learn more about my family’s religion and I am learning a lot about it. Before, I didn’t know anything about my Catholic faith but now I know a lot about my religion. I really am happy that I came to RCIA!

Ce Laurent Delamy First of all, I have believed in God since I was born into a large family in a community with a Christian majority. A culture of listening to the word of God and putting it into practice by participating in church activities was instilled in me and helped my life have meaning since my parents were divorced and I was separated from my biological father at the age of 12. I began my formation in the Catholic faith in my home country, Guinea-Conakry, for two years between 2006-2008, but was unable to finish it because of the difficulties there. This is why I decided this year to complete my formation here at St. Alphonsus Catholic Church and be baptized.
Greetings, my name is Dean Stoa Swenson and I, along with my family, have been members of the St. Alphonsus community for over 18 years.  My wife, Jodi, and I were married at St. Al’s in 2003. We have two children, ages 8 and 10, and currently live in Fridley. I chose to participate in the RCIA program this year after many years of contemplation and prayer as my family has grown.  I was baptized and raised Lutheran and feel that it is the right time to join my family in the Catholic Church and continue our journey together to understand our path and follow Jesus.   

Hi! My name is Emmanue Ikebude, I’m 17 years old and I decided to come to RCIA for my grandma. My Nigerian family and I were Protestants since that’s what we knew form other family members. Then when my grandma, who is Catholic, came to visit she said that there was a better way. She told me about many things like the Eucharist and how everything Catholics do here is also done all over the world. So now, after going through RCIA and being baptized, not only am I doing it for my grandma but I will be joining with my new Catholic family all over the world.

I'm Ian and I'm originally from Saint Paul, but moved to Brooklyn Park to be with my girlfriend Quỳnh, who is Catholic. We spend a lot of time talking about everything, including religion and God. She encouraged me to attend RCIA to learn more about the faith and also to be baptized and confirmed so that we can get married someday. Some of the teachings of Catholicism I find confusing and at times it is hard to connect spiritually, but I find the Catholic morals and overarching themes of community, love, empathy, and understanding to be comforting and refreshing in today's world. I look forward to growing more in my faith and in living my life with more love towards those around me and using the privileges I have to help those less fortunate than me, as Jesus teaches. I recognize that this is merely the next step in my spiritual journey which will continue for the rest of my life and I am grateful for the opportunity St Alphonsus has given me to grow.

My name is Sandra Scott. I am from Liberia, West Africa. I live in Champlin with my husband and two kids. I was born and raised as an Episcopalian in Liberia, but when I came to Minnesota, I married a devoted Catholic. My husband and kids are all baptized Catholic, and I attend church with him many times. I started attending my Episcopal church in Plymouth and my husband was attending his church, St. Alphonsus. Our family decided that we needed to have unity by attending one church and one denomination. After thoughtfully praying and asking God for direction, I finally decided to join my husband and kids in the same faith. My husband encouraged me to join the RCIA process that started in 2019. The weeks, and months that I have attended the gatherings, the various topics that we have covered have made me to understand the Catholic faith. Thanks to God, I have reached this far and am asking him for more knowledge, understanding and wisdom of the faith.

My name is Tyler Abayare. I am 32 years old. I was born in Minneapolis and am the second oldest of 4 children. My mother passed away when I was 12. I am currently the full-time caregiver for my aunt who is a cancer survivor and who lost her husband in 2018. It was after that when I began focusing more on the Catholic faith of my family and began to pay my time and faith forward. I myself had experienced a downward spiral when, due to a work injury, I lost everything I had except the little drip of faith and hope that I had left in me. I began to see signs of God at work in my life and for that I am grateful. And after the RCIA gatherings that I attend here at St. Alphonsus, without a shout of a doubt I am willing to give my life to Him for helping me when I needed it the most. God is real! Extremely real! You just got to have faith in him and you’ll be glad that you did in the long run!
Hello. My name is Isaac Opoku. I am originally from Ghana in West Africa. I now live in New Hope, Minnesota. I am married and have a baby daughter. 
I decided to join RCIA this year because I have accepted Jesus as my savior and I want to be baptized.


Even though I was baptized Catholic, by the time I reached confirmation age my family had moved away to experience other Christian denominations. Now as an adult, and with the guidance of Our Lady of Guadalupe, we've returned, and I'm prepared to become a full member of the faith. When you grow up practicing, so many elements of Catholicism become second nature. The true meaning behind what we do can be forgotten, if learned at all. RCIA is answering questions I didn't even know I had. It's helping me build a stronger foundation before making a lifelong commitment to Christ's way.


I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois and have lived in Columbus, Georgia as well as Birmingham, Alabama, and now here in the Minneapolis area. Losing my mother at 13 years of age was probably the hardest part of my life, but with the help of family members and with God’s grace, I made it through. I came to Christ in 2001 and was baptized at Shiloh temple in 2006. My wife is a Catholic and I am now planning on becoming Catholic too. I have three children and eight grandchildren. Staying close to family is very important to me. And so life continues!