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Bishop celebrates Rite of Election at St John’s Cathedral

At the Rite of Election in St John’s Cathedral in Norwich yesterday (February 18), Bishop Peter Collins welcomed over 80 catechumens and candidates from across the Diocese of East Anglia who will be received into the Church at Easter. Keith Morris reports.

Catechumens and candidates were in attendance from across the diocese, including from Peterborough, Cambridge, Ipswich, Norwich Costessey, Huntingdon, Great Yarmouth, Gorleston, North Walsham, St Neots, Sawston and Cambourne.

In his homily, Bishop Peter Collins said: “I rejoice to welcome you all to this mother Church of our diocese for our celebration of the Rite of Election and the call to continual conversion.

“Those of you who are preparing for baptism and those of you who are preparing to complete your Christian initiation by entering into full communion with the Catholic Church – each one of you has a unique story to tell, yet your stories will share some common ground.

“The societal environment we occupy is now secular, despite the fact that our history and culture have been most profoundly fashioned by the Christian faith.

“You who are candidates for the sacraments of Christian initiation, whether you approach from a background where no faith was previously acknowledged, or where your previous experience of faith developed within the framework of a non-Christian religion, or where you commenced within another Christian community. You have all had to contend with many challenging questions from without and from within.

“I want to quote to you from the life of St Augustine of Hippo. Book one of Augustine’s Confessions reads: ‘Yet these humans, due part of your creation as they are, still do long to praise you. You arouse us so that praising you may bring us joy, because you have made us and drawn us to yourself and our heart is unquiet until it rests in you.’

“This last phrase is well known and defines our entire journey towards the godhead – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. From the dawn of time, through the very fabric of creation, God has established and developed his covenant with us.”

The catechumens were then each called by name and stood up. Their sponsors declared that they were sufficiently prepared to be enrolled among the elect. The catechumens were then invited to declare that they wished to fully enter into the life of the Church through the sacraments of baptism, confirmation and the Eucharist. They were then greeted by Bishop Peter and invited to write their names in the Book of the Elect.

Following this, candidates for reception into the Church were asked to stand and were affirmed by their sponsors and the assembly. The bishop then asked them if they wanted to enter fully into the sacramental life of the Church.

Each parish group of candidates were then greeted individually by Bishop Peter.

The Rite of Election, held on the First Sunday of Lent in cathedrals across the world, marks an important stage along the journey to undergo the final stages of RCIA (Rite of Catholic Initiation of Adults) and prepare to be baptised and confirmed, or to be received into the full Communion of the Church and confirmed. New members of the Church will also receive the Eucharist for the first time at the Easter Vigil.

Catechumens are adults who have never been baptised and seek to becomes members of the Catholic Church through the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist. Candidates are adults who have been baptised in one of the other Christian denominations and now seek to become members of the Catholic Church through the Rite of Reception, whereby they will receive the Sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist.

Pictured above is Bishop Peter with the catechumens and candidates, at the Rite of Election.

You can view a gallery of the Rite of Election by clicking on the link here, or the picture below. https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjBeE5e

Rite of Election Norwich Feb 2024