Rites of Election & Call to Continuing Conversion

The focus of the Rite of Election is on the name, “Christian – Catholic Christian which means follower of Christ.”

“To be a Christian, to become Catholic, and to be known by that name means something to the catechumens, the godparents, the sponsors, and the community of faith. Being Christian is a deep identification of what you believe in; what you are called to be, and how you are planning to live in this world.”

Lent is an opportunity for spiritual grace as we deeply reflect on our identity, our mission, and our visions as Christians. Lent is not only about individual acts of penance. Lent is also a moment of spiritual battle to turn away from all forms of temptations that may alienate us from the message of the Gospel.

Jesus was tempted as he was exercising his mission, his public ministry. The individual temptations are about turning stones into bread, about possessing all the kingdoms of the earth, and about throwing himself down in order to be dramatically saved by angels. The same temptations used by the same devil on Adam and Eve. The evil one’s goal is for Jesus to turn away from his obedience to his Father and to live and work for himself alone, leaving aside communion with God.

The battle between good and evil continues in the hearts of each one of us still today. It is the same fundamental temptation to act just on our own without God. It is the temptation into which today many people fall, not so much through a blatant rejection of God, but through indifference and through a routine of life in which God gradually begins to play more and more only a marginal role.

Lent is also about new beginnings. It is about all of us changing the direction of our lives. It is about each of us responding with total integrity to the specific vocation to which we are called in life and in the Church.

Yearly we hold RCIA classes for those who heed and respond to the call of God. One of the many vocations of the Christian Catholic is to make disciples. In the Gospel of Matthew, it says, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

We are called to make disciples. In other words, part of being a Disciple of Christ is to help others come to faith in Jesus Christ. We are called to accompany and pray for those who seek initiation into the Church.

Part of the process of Christian Initiation, or becoming Catholic, is the Rite of Election (for the unbaptized) and the Rite of Calling to Continuing Conversion (for baptized candidates). These Rites of Christian Initiation are celebrated at Mass on the First Sunday of Lent. This is a significant event for those participating in the process of Christian Initiation as it ritually highlights the beginning stages of their journey toward baptism and/or full initiation/communion.

The Rite of Election marks the formal beginning of a time of intense preparation for the Sacraments of Initiation. Through the testimony of their godparents, the unbaptized catechumens are found worthy of “election” (which is founded on their election by God, in whose name the Church acts.) As a pledge of fidelity, they inscribe their names in our diocesan Book of the Elect. Afterward, they are then referred to as our “elect.” This year we have the following Catechumen preparing for Election: Bryce Mankoski

Also on the First Sunday of Lent, our candidates (those who have been baptized and are seeking full initiation into the Church) will go through the Rite of Calling to Continuing Conversion where their sponsors and our parish community at large attest to their readiness for either the completion of their initiation sacraments and/or for their reception into the Church. Their desire to be more fully one with the Church is recognized and we pray for them and for their journey of faith.

This year our parish will celebrate the Rite of Calling to Continuing Conversion at the 11:00 am Mass on March 5, 2023, at St. William Church. We are excited to introduce those participating in the RCIA provess and ask you to pray for them: Anna Yook, Karen Greguras, and Mandy Bach. All of them are baptized but seek continuous conversion and a deeper understanding of the faith.

— Reflection by Fr Michael Gazzingan