Rite of Election: candidates, catechumens accepted by bishop

By Maureen Smith
JACKSON – Bishop Joseph Kopacz watched as 43 catechumens signed their names to the book of the elect in the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle Sunday, Feb. 18. The Rite of Election is part of the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) a program of formation and catechesis people go through when they decide to become Catholics.

JACKSON – Zemaree Hampton of Meridian St. Joseph Parish grins as she meets Bishop Kopacz after she signed the book of the elect. Her sponsors Brenda Wilson and Frank Washington accompanied her to the rite.

At the rite, a catechumen’s sponsor and catechist attest to his or her intention to become Catholic and thier committment to conversion of heart, those who have not been baptized sign the book of the elect, pledging their fidelity. Those who are already baptised, the candidates, come forward for a special blessing. The celebration is always held the first weekend of Lent as the catechumens and candidates go through their last, intense period of preparation before receiving sacraments at Easter.
More than 130 people from parishes across the diocese turned in their names as candidates this year. Not all could come to the cathedral. Some parishes celebrate the completion of the rite at their liturgies on the same weekend.
See more photos online at www.mississippicatholic.com.