Rite of Election
The Catholic Bishop responsible for overseeing the work of evangelisation nationally has called on Catholics to draw people to God through their daily Christian witness.
Speaking to coincide with the Rite of Election – when people across England and Wales gather to prepare to become members of the Catholic Church – Bishop Kieran Conry (Arundel and Brighton), Chair of the Department for Evangelisation and Catechesis, Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, said:
“Many of those currently in the RCIA say that it was a family member or friend who first interested them in the Catholic Church. So we should bear that in mind always in our dealings with people. We are all sowers of the seed. If we show ourselves to be happy, optimistic, humble and generous, then it’s more likely we will draw people to God and be signs of the Kingdom.”
“It’s important to celebrate the work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts and minds of those now preparing to be received into the Catholic Church. During the weeks between now and Easter let us remember them in our prayers.”
The Beavis family – Emilie (31), her husband Neil (35) and their three young children – Lillie-Mae (5), Alfie (3) and Flora Rose (2) – from Littlehampton are among those preparing to become Catholics at the Easter Vigil. Emilie shared: “It feels right and to us it doesn’t feel like a big decision, it feels like the right decision. I’m righting something that should have been done a long time ago.”
The Rite of the Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is the liturgical and catechetical (passing on the truths of the faith) process designed for adults attracted by Christ and his teaching. It supports them as they seek to respond more deeply and to enter into the Communion of the Church. Part of this process is called the ’Rite of Election’ which is an ancient ceremony which sees those who are preparing to be baptised (Catechumens) and those who are already baptised in another Christian tradition (Candidates), gather to prepare to be received into the Catholic Church at Easter.
Caroline Dollard, Convenor of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) Network said: “The Rite of Election is not only very special for the catechumens and candidates who meet the wider family of the church. It is also a powerful experience for every diocesan bishop, parish priest, sponsor, catechist and member of a parish community. Within this liturgical step we meet Christ who lovingly calls and accompanies those preparing to become Catholics as they enter the period of final intense preparation. Last weekend was a time to celebrate the calling at the heart of all of our lives. There was so much joy and hope.”
A table of stats showing how many people took part in this Rite of Election at the diocesan Cathedrals can be found here. The numbers provided do not reflect the overall total of the people preparing to join the Catholic Church this Easter. The ritual moment was also celebrated in local parishes because, for reasons related to geographical distance, priests and people were unable to make the journey to their diocesan Cathedral.
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The Rite of Election 2012