FALL RIVER — Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha will celebrate the Rite of Election this Sunday, February 22, for men and women from throughout the Fall River diocese who are preparing to become members of the Roman Catholic Church or who are preparing for full communion in the Church. It will take place at 3 p.m. at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Fall River.
The Rite of Election is celebrated in diocesan cathedrals annually throughout the world on the First Sunday of Lent. It marks the beginning of the final phase of preparation for those participating in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults –better known by the acronym RCIA- the process through which adults enter the Catholic Church.
In the context of the ceremony, Bishop da Cunha will formally acknowledge the readiness of the catechumens –those who are preparing for the sacraments of initiation (baptism, confirmation and Eucharist) -and call them to the reception of the sacraments, to be conferred in most cases in their own parishes during the Easter Vigil on April 4.
The catechumens respond to the bishop’s call by expressing their desire for the sacraments and inscribing their names in what is called the Book of the Elect. For the catechumens, this follows a period of study and reflection on the Word of God at their pace and with the assistance of parish instructors.
Sunday’s Rite of Election also includes the Call to Continuing Conversion for persons called candidates in the RCIA process. Candidates are those who have been baptized in other Christian traditions who now seek to become members of the Catholic Church or baptized Catholics who had no instruction in the faith and are now preparing for confirmation and Eucharist.
Bishop da Cunha will seek the approval from the sponsors of these candidates for the continuation of their preparation for reception into the full communion of the Catholic Church.