Sunday, February 25, 2024

Faithful Fill Cathedral in Support of 143 Catechumens Who Will Enter the Church this Easter

Lent is a time of prayer and penance as we renew ourselves for the celebration of Christ’s triumph over death at Easter. For those who will become Catholic and join the Church at the Easter Vigil, it is also a period of intense preparation to receive the Sacraments of Initiation for the first time.

On the first Sunday of Lent, 143 men and women – known as catechumens – who will enter into the full Communion of the Catholic Church this Easter celebrated the Rite of Election at St. Patrick Cathedral in Harrisburg.

The Rite of Election celebrates the maturing conversion and growth of commitment in these men and women, who have advanced in their conversion of mind, heart and spirit, and who are ready to make a lifelong commitment to God.

During the Rite of Election, the names of those who will enter the Church – known as the “elect” – are presented aloud to the bishop by the coordinator of adult education from each parish, and written in the Book of the Elect. The elect rise and stand with their godparents, who attest to their preparedness to receive the Sacraments of Initiation, and they are entrusted to their spiritual care of their godparents.

During the rite, the bishop formally declares the catechumens as members of the elect to be initiated into the Church at the Easter Vigil, when they will receive the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and the Holy Eucharist.

“Lent is an itinerary for conversation for all of us here today,” Bishop Ronald Gainer told the congregation of catechumens, godparents, sponsors, catechists and family members that filled the Cathedral.

“A great contrast is of our first parents, Adam and Eve’s fall and Christ’s triumph over Satan’s temptations in the desert wilderness,” he said. “Jesus speaks three resounding no’s to Satan, and three profound yeses to his Father…. The Devil’s playground is to trick our free will. That is what he did to our first parents.”

“Satan was vanquished in the desert; the new Adam, Christ, defeated Satan and he remains defeated because of Christ,” the bishop said.

(Photos by Chris Heisey, The Catholic Witness.)

By Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness

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