The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) lies at the heart of our Lenten journey. Lent was originally the climax of the preparation for the Easter Sacraments for converts from Paganism in the Early Church. It also became a time of reconciliation for those who had apostatised and needed to do penance before they, too, were reconciled at the Easter Mysteries. The situation in our own day is not too dissimilar!
Worldwide there are many people seeking Baptism as adults in the Catholic Church. There are also those who have been baptised in other Christian communities seeking Full Communion with the Catholic Church. Whatever the situation, the importance of proper preparation and instruction of these converts and inauguration into the life of our parishes is key to their journey of faith. Most of our parishes started the process of preparation last year and as Lent approaches the adults on these courses are their decision to step forward or delay their admission into the Catholic Church. Those who choose to move forward Mae a direct petition to the Bishop of the Diocese to express their desire after their period of discernment. In return, the Bishop invites them to gather at the Mother Church of the Diocese (the Cathedral) to take part in a Rite of Election.
The Rite of Election is a public expression that marks a transition in the RCIA journey. In this profoundly moving ceremony, those adults seeking Baptism and those seeking Full Communion with the Catholic Church come before the Bishop as the head and father of the Diocese to express their commitment. The Bishop, in his turn, acknowledges their desire and formally accepts them as Catechumens and Candidates respectively with the hope that in a few short weeks these men and women will fully become part of the Catholic Church. The people of the Diocese also gather to witness the event and express their resolve to support these adults on their journey both in a prayerful and active way. The ceremony takes place at the start of the Lent journey on the 1st Sunday of Lent; in 2020 that is Sunday 1st March. The Rite of Election will take place in St. David’s Cathedral, Cardiff, at 3.00pm. It is a very public expression of the theology and pastoral care of the Church for the Catechumens and those seeking Full Communion.
If there are people in the parishes being so prepared, please invite them to attend this important event. Their names will be included in the “Book of the Elect” which is an important part of the ceremony. Please ensure the names of the candidates and the parishes are sent to Frances Bibey at the Pastoral Centre by Friday 21st February so that they may be inscribed properly.