On the Sunday 14th February at 3pm, Archbishop George Stack, formally welcomed groups of people, who wish to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church to the Mother church of the Diocese for the Annual Rite of Election. The Rite of Election forms part of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), which the Second Vatican Council brought into effect to restore the Catechumenate within the life of the Church:
“The catechumenate for adults, comprising several distinct steps, is to be restored and brought into use at the discretion of the local ordinary. By this means the time of the catechumenate, which is intended as a period of suitable instruction, may be sanctified by sacred rites to be celebrated at successive intervals of time” (Sacrosanctum Concilium No. 64).
The Catechumenate is a period of preparation for reception of the Sacraments of Christian Initiation i.e.. Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation. The period begins with the Rite of Acceptance in the home parish of those presenting themselves for admission to the Church. It formally ends with the Rite of Election when the catechumens enter the final period of purification and preparation for Baptism at Easter. This rite normally coincides with the first Sunday of Lent. The catechumens are presented to the bishop and people of the Diocese who receive the testimony of sponsors and catechists and the catechumens’ affirmation of their intention to join the Church, the Church makes its “election” of these catechumens to receive the Sacraments of Initiation. Their names are then written into the Book of the Elect. The catechumens are then known as “the elect’ or “the illuminandi” (“those who will be enlightened”). Over the next five Sundays of Lent, three scrutinies (rites for self-searching and repentance) and the presentations of the Creed and Lord’s Prayer take place. This final period then concludes with the celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation at the Easter Vigil.
The Deans of each deanery, formally presented to the Archbishop those to be baptised (Catechumens) and those to be received into Full Communion with the Church (Candidates) this coming Easter. In total 30 individuals were present to the Archbishop, from all the different parts of the Diocese. Each person expressed there commitment to moving forward in their faith, and wished to enter into the sacraments of Baptism, Holy Communion, and Confirmation, with the help of their sponsors, who promised to help them in there continual development, of the faith.
Following the Rite of Election, all were invited into the newly named Mostyn Room, for tea and coffee. Here each person had the opportunity to take a “Mercy Pack”, which contained a Walk With Me, a guide to confession, and other material to help guide the candidates, through their reception into the Church, and the Year of Mercy.
Through the intercession of Our Blessed Lady, and St. David, may these candidates grow in their faith. Let us pray for our elect as they prepare to take the next step in their journey of faith.