Last Updated:

Over one thousand people gathered at Westminster Cathedral on Saturday 17th February to celebrate the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion, a key milestone in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). They came to accompany and support 398 adults from 82 parishes who will receive the Sacraments of Initiation at Easter. 

Cardinal Vincent Nichols presided over the liturgy with Bishops John Sherrington, Nicholas Hudson, Paul McAleenan, and Fr Gerard Quinn (Episcopal Vicar).  During the Rite of Election the Cardinal declared 223 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. Their names were brought forward in the Book of the Elect which was blessed by the Cardinal. During the Call to Continuing Conversion, 175 candidates who are already baptised Christians, were affirmed by their sponsors and the assembly. The Church recognised their desire to complete their initiation in order to be received into full communion with the Catholic Church.

The service was a joyful occasion full of music, celebration and joy attended by families and friends from across the diocese.  For many, the highpoint was when each parish group was called forward to meet the Cardinal and the Bishops.  The Cardinal spoke in his homily about the centrality and relevance of the Lord’s Prayer as both a model for prayer and a summary of our Christian faith.

Writing to the catechumens and candidates in the order of service, Cardinal Vincent said, ‘We give thanks to God for the ways in which our parishes and diocesan family will be enriched by you and we promise to continue to support you and your families with our prayers and the example of Christian life that you experience in our parish communities.’  

The Cardinal also acknowledged the ‘support which so many priests, deacons, religious, parish catechists, godparents and sponsors have provided’ to these catechumens and candidates: ‘Please God, the journeying with those seeking full communion with the Church will have been a time of grace for you and all the members of our parish communities.’

The Rite of Election is celebrated on the first Saturday of Lent, with parishes from all deaneries of the diocese.  During Lent, the Elect and candidates will continue their preparation to receive the Sacraments of Initiation at Easter in their parishes.

The Book of the Elect will be on display in the Baptistry until Holy Saturday so that those who visit the Cathedral may pray for the Elect.

Read the Cardinal's homily in full here.

Rite of Election 2024