WASHINGTON — Tens of thousands of new Catholics were received into the Catholic Church at Easter Vigil liturgies in parishes throughout the United States the night of April 20. While a precise number was not available, reports from 89 U.S. Latin-rite dioceses, roughly half the total number, indicate that their dioceses alone accounted for about 37,000 Catholics joining the church. The great majority of the new Catholics have gone through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults process at their chosen parish. Already having some knowledge of Jesus and Christian teachings at the time they began, the new Catholics learned the teachings of the Catholic Church in a more formal way and discerned that they were ready to commit to living according to these beliefs. There are two distinct groups of people who have joined the church. One group is known as catechumens, who have never been baptized. They received the sacraments of initiation — baptism, confirmation and first Communion — at the Easter Vigil liturgy. The other group is known as candidates, who have already been baptized in another Christian faith. They entered the Catholic Church through a profession of faith and reception of confirmation and the Eucharist. Some of the largest U.S. dioceses received more than 1,000 Catholics each into the church at Easter. They include the Los Angeles, Galveston-Houston, Atlanta and Seattle archdioceses, and the dioceses of Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas; and Charlotte, North Carolina. Many other dioceses welcomed at least 100 each of catechumens and candidates into the church. Archdioceses that have reported such totals include Washington, New Orleans, St. Paul and Minneapolis, Oklahoma City, Denver, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Boston, Indianapolis and Baltimore.