560 people from 110 parishes gathered at Westminster Cathedral on 4th and 5th March to celebrate the Rite of Election and call to continuing conversion, a key milestone in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). Cardinal Vincent presided over the liturgy, along with Bishops John Sherrington, Nicholas Hudson, Paul McAleenan and John Wilson, and many Deans from the diocese.
During the Rite of Election the Cardinal declared 256 catechumens to be ready and to have been chosen by the community, as the Elect, to go forward to prepare for the Sacraments of Initiation of Baptism, Confirmation and First Holy Communion at Easter. During the call to continuing conversion, 304 candidates who are already baptised Christians, were affirmed by their sponsors and the assembly. The Church recognises their desire to complete their initiation in order to be received into full communion with the Catholic Church.
In his welcome, Cardinal Vincent said, ‘Today is a day of great thanksgiving – thanksgiving for the gift of Faith and the generous response of our catechumens and candidates.’
In his homily, the Cardinal spoke of the light of Christ, symbolised by the Paschal candle, and the ‘desire to receive the light of Christ more fully, to let it shine more brightly in our lives and in the way we see and look around us’.
He spoke of this light as ‘helping us to see ourselves with a greater honesty’, explaining that ‘we become much more appreciative of the beauty of God and the wonder of his creation, and the dignity of every human being’.
The light of Christ, he added, also shows us our darkness. During this journey of Lent, he said, we should ‘embrace the light of Christ, to let it shape and reshape our lives in his light, and to be his missionaries in our world today’.
During Lent, these Elect and candidates will continue their preparations to receive the Sacraments of Initiation at Easter. Please keep them all in your prayers.