More than 400 people took part in the Rite of Election at Westminster Cathedral earlier this month. At Masses presided over by Cardinal Vincent Nichols, who was assisted by his auxiliary bishops, 219 candidates and 200 catechumens attended the Rite of Election over Saturday and Sunday.
In his remarks to the congregation, Cardinal Nichols drew attention to the communitarian nature of the Rite. “We give thanks to God for the ways in which our parishes and diocesan family will be enriched by you,” the cardinal said, promising “to continue to support you and your families with our prayers and the example of Christian life that you experience in our parish communities.”
Some dioceses reported an increase from previous years. Nottingham had 30 more participants than last year preparing for Paschal reception; Birmingham eight. However, there were fewer people in both Cardiff and Middlesbrough, according to diocesan spokesmen. The number of participants in Westminster had also decreased since last year, although there were more than took part in 2017.
Bishop Alan Hopes of East Anglia, a former Anglican cleric, greeted 32 candidates and 30 catechumens in person. “Today is a celebration of your hope and trust in Jesus Christ, to whom you turn for salvation,” he said. “Today you are being elected, chosen, called to salvation.
The Church rejoices with you as she numbers you amongst all those who have been called and chosen … You are being called to deepen you commitment to Him and so grow in holiness. You are being called to become saints of God.”
For those following the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA), the Rite of Election is among the final stages of preparation for reception and Confirmation. Held by tradition at the start of Lent for those being received during the Easter Vigil, it provides an approximate guide to the number of new Catholics. However, the final total is often greater, as the Rite of Election is not compulsory.
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