From one stage to the next.
That is what the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion are all about.
For those seeking baptism, these ceremonies are a transition from someone simply learning to someone preparing to receive the sacraments.
For someone seeking full Communion, it is a time to turn oneself over to God and continue the journey in faith.
The Rite of Election is part of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, through which where catechumens (those preparing for baptism) are enrolled before the bishop and become “the elect.” The Call to Continuing Conversion is an affirmation with the bishop of those who are already baptized to be received fully into the Catholic Church. Both rituals are celebrated during the same ceremony on the first Sunday of Lent, this year March 1.
Catechumens are only asked one question that day: “Do you wish to enter fully into the life of the Church through the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and the Eucharist?” Yet that one question holds so much within it. The question could just as easily be, “Are you sure you want to accept the responsibility of being a Christian?”
It is a question worth exploring by everyone. Do we wish to live fully in the life of the church through the sacraments? What does it mean to fully embrace our sacramental lives and the life of the church?
Beyond the candidates and catechumens, godparents, catechists, sponsors and the entire community gathered for the liturgy are asked if they affirm the candidates and catechumens and if they will support them.
The Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion is about the entire church welcoming, supporting and rejoicing in those who are joining at the Lord’s table.
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Smith is coordinator of sacramental catechesis and family life in the Diocese of Rochester’s Office of Evangelization & Catechesis.