Rite of Election: 388 set to enter Church at Easter Vigil Print this post

By Bob Reddy (Florida Catholic)

A renewed sense of Christian vocation and call to holiness was evident during the annual celebration of the Rite of Election of Catechumens and the Call to Continuing Conversion of Candidates on the first Sunday of Lent, March 5, at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice.

Banners are broght forward at the start of the Rite of Election at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice on March 5.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane welcomed 169 catechumens and 219 candidates from around the Diocese of Venice and congratulated them for seeking a new life to be a part of the Catholic Church and the family of Jesus Christ.

This annual celebration is a formal Rite in which catechumens, those who are unbaptized and unchurched, who are in the process of joining the Catholic Faith. During the Rite, the catechumens are individually called forward and their names are entered into the Book of Elect. Candidates, those previously baptized, also participated in the formal ceremony and were welcomed during the celebration for answering the call to continuing conversion.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane speaks to catechumens and candidates during teh Rite of Election on March 5 at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice.

During the Rite of Election, which takes place on the same afternoon at Cathedrals around the world, Bishop Dewane said that the decision they have made humbles him. He explained to the catechumens and candidates that they are part of something greater than themselves and they now have a new spiritual home within the 10 counties that make up the Diocese of Venice.

Catechumens and candidates from Jesus the Worker Parish in Fort Myers have their picture taken with Bishop Frank J. Dewane following the Rite of Election at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice on March 5.

“What you do is important and what you do makes you blessed,” the Bishop said.

Thanking the sponsors for agreeing to help the catechumens and candidates on their spiritual journey, Bishop Dewane noted that their work will not end at the Easter Vigil, but they must continue to serve as examples of Christ in the world.

A catechumen from St. John XXIII Parish in Fort Myers presentes herself to Bishop Frank J. Dewane on March 5 during the Rite of Election at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice.

The catechumens and candidates who were recognized by Bishop Dewane, will be welcomed at their home parishes during the Easter Vigil on April 15. The group represented 37 Parishes in the Diocese of Venice and are accompanied by more than 150,000 across the country that will also join the Catholic Church this year. Jesus the Worker Parish in Fort Myers had the largest group, with 42 catechumens and 12 candidates.

The catechumens are part of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). They are unbaptized and unchurched and ultimately inquire about becoming part of the Roman Catholic Faith. Many times catechumens are those who have begun to seek and understand God in their lives, and have been led by the Holy Spirit to become Catholic. RCIA is not simply a course on Catholicism; it is a journey of discovery and faith.

Candidates come forward to bless themselves with Holy Water during the Rite of Election presided over by Bishop Frank J. Dewane on March 5 at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice.

For candidates, those who have been baptized in the name of the Trinity, the Catholic Church does not require re-Baptism. Candidates have already experienced a journey of faith and understand how Jesus leads us to the Father through the work of the Holy Spirit. In fact, often they have been attending Mass with their families for years but may have never received the Sacrament of Holy Communion or the Sacrament of Confirmation.

Candidates, therefore, are in a separate group and are not necessarily required to wait an entire year before being welcomed into the Church. However, the Easter Vigil is still an appropriate and most beautiful time for this to occur.

The faithful of the Diocese of Venice are encouraged to pray for and welcome the catechumens and candidates at their own Parish as they continue their journey of discovery in their Faith.

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