A father and daughter received the sacraments of baptism, first Communion, and confirmation together at an Easter Vigil Mass in Burbank while holding close the memory of daughter and sister, Danielle Granados, who passed away last year in January at the age of 7.

Danielle suffered from a heart condition that necessitated a heart transplant when she was 2 years old. She was shy around strangers, but when comfortable, she was bubbly with her family. “She was just an amazing little girl,” said her father Manuel Granados, 44. “She was baptized when she was in the hospital when she was two years old because they had told us that she wasn’t going to make it.”

Granados was raised Protestant and thought of baptism as something for older children, but when Danielle received the sacrament, his older daughter, Jocelyn, now 11, wanted to know why she wasn’t yet baptized. “She always asked, ‘Why was Danielle baptized, and why was I not baptized?’” he recalled.

He had agreed with his wife Yesica, 42, who is Catholic, to raise both of their daughters in the faith, but although Jocelyn considered herself Catholic at heart, the time, worry and money that went into caring for a sick child pushed the baptism of his eldest off the to-do list.

The family, who attend St. Finbar Church, enrolled Jocelyn in the parish’s elementary school, which made Jocelyn more interested in becoming Catholic. “I do go to a Catholic school and all my friends are Catholic and I’d really like to be more into what Catholicism is,” she said.

Speaking with The Tidings before the Easter Vigil, she said, “I’m really excited, but at the same time, I am a little bit nervous. Just … thinking that everyone is going to be watching and that it’s a big commitment that I’m making.”

She added, “I feel like I’m going to be more given as a servant to God and that is really a big deal.” She also feels that the gap between her sister will be closed a little because they will finally share the sacrament of baptism.

St. Finbar was a huge support during his daughter’s illness, says Grandados. “They came together, and we had donations, and it was just amazing. … A lot of them didn’t even know us at the time because we were so new to St. Finbar, and ... seeing that I knew that that was the place that I needed to be.”

Another sign that made Granados gravitate to the Catholic Church was the celebration of the Eucharist. “In the Protestant church you don’t do communion every week. In the Catholic Church you do and that ... got me to realize that is very important.”

Also seeing his daughter in catechism class made him jump at the opportunity. “I had never been baptized, and so when Jocelyn was going through her catechism, I said, ‘This is it — this is the time for me to become Catholic,’ and there is no looking back and all the glory goes to God. ... It’s all by His will.”

He believes that the family will be stronger because now they all profess the same beliefs, noting the intercession of the saints and of the Blessed Mother. “It’s just going to be a lot easier and a lot more peaceful to pray together,” he says. “We did pray together, but I didn’t prayer to the Virgin Mary with my wife or my daughter, but now I do.”

And they will always keep the memory of Danielle alive, Granados said. “Danielle was a very special little girl to us, and we are always going to hold her in our hearts.”

Jocelyn added, “I’ve always felt close to her, but now that we are both going to be baptized, I feel that we are going to be closer.”