SAGINAW- On Sunday, March 10, faithful from parishes throughout the diocese gathered for the Rite of Election at the Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption in Saginaw. Over 100 Catechumens and candidates will be received into full communion at their parishes during the Easter Vigil.
The Most Rev. Walter A. Hurley, Apostolic Administrator for the Diocese of Saginaw, presided. Each year, generally on the First Sunday of Lent, the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults [RCIA] celebrates the “election” of those catechumens who have been deemed by parish leadership to be appropriately prepared to receive the Easter sacraments. As a result of this rite, these catechumens, who will be fully initiated at the upcoming Easter Vigil, are called our “elect” (meaning those who have been “chosen”).
During the liturgical rite, the pastoral leaders, godparents, catechists and members of the faith community give witness to the bishop that the “chosen” catechumens are worthy and appropriately prepared for the Easter sacraments. As part of the Rite of Election, these “elect” are then invited to come forward with their godparents and inscribe their names in the Book of the Elect.
Also present at this liturgy are those who are already baptized in another Christian tradition and who desire to enter into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church. These individuals are called candidates (those being presented for reception of the sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist). In a parallel process of formation (similar to the catechumenate), these candidates who have been appropriately catechized and prepared within the parish community are now presented to the bishop and he celebrates with them a rite called the Call to Continuing Conversion to be enacted within their parish as their final spiritual formation during Lent to become full members in the Catholic Church.