“The true meaning of election is there is only one vote: you say ‘Yes’ to God,” Bishop Bishop Frank J. Caggiano said to the nearly 400 candidates and catechumens preparing to enter the Catholic Church at the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion this afternoon. Click for a list of catechumens and candidates
More than 1,200 including sponsors, Godparents and family members filled St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Fairfield for the rite held each year at the beginning of Lent. It was an afternoon of joy and excitement as the candidates, many of them young adults, took a final step toward being accepted into the Church.
“You have been chosen by God for a great gift. Every single one is being called to holiness,” he told the men and women, repeating his words in Spanish and English. “The Church promises to walk with you, one person at a time so that you may realize the destiny God has given you.”
“There is much work left to be done,” the Bishop told the men and women. “For these are the days of Lent. Your preparation and purification involves going into the desert with Jesus. You must open your heart to Christ, become an open book and walk with him to find everlasting life,” the Bishop said during his homily.
During the service, every catechumen (non-baptized person) and candidate (those who were baptized but did not receive further sacraments) came forward to the altar to be personally greeted by the Bishop.
The names of the elect were individually called from the pulpit by Rose Talbot Babey, coordinator of Elementary Formation. They came from nearly every parish of the Diocese, and the majority were Spanish-speaking Catholics from both inner city and suburban parishes. Many came forward alone while others were husband and wife, brothers and sisters preparing to enter the Church together.
First came the catechumens, accompanied by their Godparents, to meet the Bishop and to sign the “Book of Election,” to signify their interest in joining the Church.
“And so, Godparents, I ask you: have they faithfully listened to God’s word proclaimed by the Church,” the Bishop asked.
“They have,” the Godparents answered in unison.
The Presentation of Candidates followed the welcoming of Catechumens. They were accompanied by their priests and pastors as well as sponsors, who were asked to affirm them in unison. The Church also erupted in applause after the rite.
Many were bundled in winter coats as they processed forward on one of the coldest weekends of the year, but the new-found pre-spring light bathed them in gold as it came through the west facing windows of the Church.
The liturgical rite, known as Election and the Enrollment of Names, closes the period of formation and marks the beginning of the period of final preparation for the Sacraments of Initiation at Easter.
The Bishop thanked the priests, sponsors, Directors of Religious Education and others who helped to prepare the men and women to enter the Church and asked them to continue to serve as role models in the faith. “They’ll look to us for examples of Christian renewal,” he said.
“Have the courage to walk with the Lord. Allow him to convert the world through you,” the Bishop said in his final blessing parting words before the recessional hymn, “We are Called.”
The music during the two-hour program was provided by the Diocesan Youth Choir under the direction of Mary Bozutti Higgins.
Traditionally held on the first Sunday of Lent, it is part of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) process.
For more information regarding RCIA and adult formation within the Diocese, call Kim Quatela, Coordinator of Family Faith Formation 203.416.1334 or email firstname.lastname@example.org