On Sunday, Feb. 26, 141 catechumens and candidates took part in the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion, their next step to entering into full communion with the Catholic Church.
Bishop Joseph A. Galante presided over the 2 p.m. service at Our Lady of Hope Parish in Blackwood, bringing together the catechumens and candidates from 46 parishes.
The Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion are part of the Rite of the Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), the process taken by individuals who want to become Christians, in the Catholic tradition.
The 120 catechumens present last Sunday, those unbaptized believers seeking membership in the Catholic Church and wishing to receive the sacraments of initiation (baptism, holy Eucharist, confirmation) were the first to be called up for the Rite of Election by Bishop Galante.
Called by name, one by one, the catechumens, supported by their godparents, sponsors and cathechists, stood and faced the bishop.
After Bishop Galante asked the deacon presenter and the catechumens’ supporters if the catechumens have “faithfully listened to God’s word … begun to walk in his presence … (and) shared the company of their Christian brothers and sisters,” the deacon presenter and sponsors answered in the affirmative. The congregation, as well, echoed the deacon presenter, expressing their willingness to aid the catechumens, in their journey to the Catholic faith.
Next, each catechumen’s religious education director from their parish, presented Bishop Galante with their parish’s Book of the Elect, signed by all the candidates and catechumens, affirming their commitment to becoming disciples of Christ.
Next came the Call to Continuing Conversion, where the 71 candidates baptized in another Christian faith, and now seeking to enter the Catholic Church, were affirmed by their own sponsors, family, and the religious congregation. The candidates affirmed their readiness to receive the sacraments of holy Eucharist and confirmation.
In five short weeks, these 141 catechumens and candidates will finally complete their journey to the Catholic faith, receiving the sacraments at the Easter Vigil.