Catholic Free Press

Catholic Free Press Digital Edition

  • Mar
  • 13

RCIA rite leading people to Church for Easter

Posted By March 13, 2014 | 12:42 pm | Lead Story #3
St. Paul Cathedral planning to restore its pews.
St. Paul Cathedral planning to restore its pews.

By Tanya Connor

“It’s so great to be Catholic.”
Dianne Gustowski, coordinator of religious education at St. John Parish in Worcester, was sharing her joy after the Rite of Election Sunday at St. Paul Cathedral. She said she always wanted to attend, but this was her first time doing so.
“I loved it,” she said. “Beautiful! … We are a communal Church. The Book of the Elect, what it symbolizes: ‘You are important. We welcome you.’”
Part of her work at St. John’s is leading the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.
A major component of the RCIA is an annual diocesan-wide service, held the first Sunday of Lent at the cathedral. Officially, that liturgy is called the Celebration of the Rite of Election of Catechumens and of the Call to Continuing Conversion of Candidates who seek to Complete their Christian Initiation.
This year catechumens and candidates from 37 parishes were welcomed to the cathedral. Catechumens are people preparing to receive the sacraments of initiation (baptism, Eucharist and confirmation) at the Easter Vigil. Candidates are to receive their first Communion and/or confirmation at that Mass the night before Easter Sunday.
Sunday 84 catechumens were called by name, by parish. They inscribed their names in the Book of the Elect and greeted Bishop McManus, who then declared them members of the elect.
Also called by name, by parish, were the candidates – 31 baptized non-Catholics seeking full communion with the Catholic Church and 110 baptized Catholics completing their sacraments of initiation. Bishop McManus said the Act of Recognition over them and they greeted him.
Bishop McManus opened the liturgy calling on the fully-initiated to surround the catechumens and candidates with their prayerful presence and support.
In his homily, he told the catechumens and candidates to repent and believe in the Gospel so they will have new and abundant life. God has chosen them to live a life of faith in Christ, their Savior, but never forces anyone to respond to his invitation, he said. He prays they do.