Rite of election welcomes candidates, catechumens

JACKSON – Almost 70 catecumens signed the book of the elect at the Rite of Election at the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle Sunday, March 4. Several dozen candidates also participated and got a special blessing from Bishop Joseph Kopacz.
The Rite of Election is when candidates seeking full communion in the church and catechumens seeking baptism publicly declare their intent, their sponsors speak on their behalf and the bishop of a diocese accepts them.
The tradition brings together people from across the diocese and begins an intense period of final preparation for these faithful as they approach Easter.

Bishop grants one year change to Rite of Election

Bishop Joseph Kopacz has delegated authority to pastors to celebrate the 2015 Rite of Election in the local parish instead of having one celebration in the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle. Several circumstances contributed to the decision according to Mary Woodward, diocesan chancellor.
“The Rite of Election is a celebration reserved for the bishop and ideally takes place in the cathedral, but the bishop can allow it to take place on the parish level on rare occasions,” said Woodward. “The rite will return to the cathedral in 2016,” she added.
The Rite of Election is the ritual moment when catechumens declare before the bishop their desire for baptism into the church. Each catechumen then signs the Book of the Elect and is welcomed by the bishop as a member of the Elect.
The bishop is the chief pastor of the diocesan church and is the symbol of unity in the church. This is why the rite normally is celebrated by him in the cathedral. Parishes have been asked to send the names of their catechumens to the diocesan liturgy office so that they may be included in the diocesan Book of Elect which will be placed on the St. Joseph Shrine during Lent and Holy Week.

Bishop welcomes elect on journey to Easter

JACKSON – More than 50 catechumens from 13 parishes signed their names into the Book of the Elect at the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle Sunday, May 9, during the Rite of Election. During the ritual, repeated in every diocese, the bishop asks the directors of Rite of Christian Initiation (RCIA) programs if the catechumens have been studying and praying and if they are ready for baptism. He then accepts them as the elect and they continue their journey to Easter.

Bishop Joseph Kopacz welcomed the crowd at the service and reminded them that Lent is a time to remember the power of God’s grace. “The grace of God far surpasses any sin, any evil,” he said in his remarks. He also encouraged them and told them they are an important part of all Catholics’ preparation for Easter. “Your part in this is profound. Your journey of faith for all of us ‘old-time’ Catholics is a renewal. It reminds us of the treasure we have. And we influence each other,” he said.

The bishop, who had celebrated a Mass in New Albany St. Francis of Assisi Parish that morning, also urged those in attendance to “relax in the presence of Jesus,” as they came up individually to sign the book and meet the bishop. A reception followed the ceremony.