Over 400 people from 93 parishes gathered at Westminster Cathedral on 9th and 10th March to celebrate the Rite of Election and call to continuing conversion, a key milestone in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). His Eminence Cardinal Vincent Nichols 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 over 200 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, 219 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.
Addressing the catechumens and candidates, Cardinal Nichols said, ‘These ceremonies are among the largest gatherings of people from parishes across the diocese, who join me in giving thanks for the great work that God is carrying out in your lives.’
He added: ‘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 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.’
During Lent, the Elect and candidates will continue their preparations to receive the Sacraments of Initiation at Easter.
The Rite of Election is celebrated over two days, with parishes from half the deaneries in the diocese attending each day.
Photos are available on www.flickr.com.