Priests and sponsors from many parishes across Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire made the journey to St John’s Cathedral in Norwich on Sunday (March 1) with Candidates and Catechumens they are supporting.
The Rite of Election marks an important stage along their journey as they undergo the final stages of RCIA (Rite of Catholic Initiation of Adults) and prepare to be either Confirmed, or to be received into the Full Communion of the Church and receive the Eucharist for the first time, both of which take place 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. After being greeted by Bishop Alan, they were invited to write their names in the Book of the Elect.
Candidates are adults who have been baptised in one of the 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.
“This marks a special moment on your journey of faith,” said Bishop Alan in his homily. “It will define your faith journey for the rest of your lives.”
Bishop Alan spoke of the challenge of entering this season leading up to Easter. “Lent becomes for us a moment of real growth and strength as the Church journeys towards her heavenly home,” he said.
“You will all bring gifts with you, and you will have such an important part to play in the life and mission of the Catholic Church,” continued Bishop Alan.
“Jesus is the one who has been calling you to undertake this journey, and He is the one on whom you must fix your gaze for the rest of your lives. If you are ever tempted to go off at some tangent, remember that He is always there, full of love.
“Today is a powerfully significant moment for the life of the Church in our diocese,” concluded Bishop Alan. “Discover with us new joy and life in the living Christ.
“May God bless each one of you.”
The introductory notes to the Rite of Election explain that “the Church makes its “election,” that is, the choice and admission of those catechumens who [will] take part, at the next major celebration, in the sacraments of initiation.”
The pictures above show Bishop Alan welcoming catechumens at St John’s Cathedral.
Click here or on the image below to see a full picture gallery from the event. Pictures are free to download and use.