February 28, 2021
This year, on Saturday February 27th the Rite of Election is celebrated here in the Panhandle. This is the second step in Christian Initiation, for those in the RCIA, preparing for the Sacraments of initiation at Easter. It is during this step that the Church (with the bishop), after hearing the testimony of godparents and catechists, and with the “yes” of the catechumens (those who seek baptism) themselves, makes its election of those who will proceed to the sacraments of initiation (baptism, confirmation and Eucharist) at the Easter Vigil. This Rite marks the beginning of the final, intense period of preparation during Lent.
This step is called “election” because the Church, acting in the name of God, chooses those found ready for admission to these sacraments. These catechumens have been found “fit”. By which the Church means that their ongoing conversion has brought them to a place where they are ready to take on the life of Christ. That by dying and rising in the waters of baptism and by eating and drinking the Body and Blood of Christ as a member of the Body of the Church they are ready to be disciples of Christ, going forth in the world to work for the Kingdom of God.
This liturgical Rite is also called the Enrollment of Names since as those chosen to proceed to baptism and as a pledge of their fidelity they sign their names in the Book of the Elect.
Over the course of the coming Lent, the Elect will proceed through a period of purification and enlightenment. During this time they will focus on prayer and reflection, they will be dismissed from the Sunday celebration to focus on the Word, and they will undergo the three Scrutiny Rites during the final three Sundays of the Lenten period.
At the end of this period they will gather on the night of the Easter Vigil, in the midst of the community and be baptized, confirmed and celebrate their first Eucharist. However, this is only the start of a life-long journey of ongoing conversion and growth in the life of the Christ.