By Erin McGeever

“You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy people;
Praise God who called you out of darkness and into his marvelous light.”  1 Peter 2:9

Bishop Felipe J. Estévez will call 625 catechumens and candidates to the Easter sacraments at three celebrations of the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion. All three celebrations (March 5, 11 and12) will be held at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine with an estimated 2,000 attending.

These celebrations follow a ritual celebrated at parishes, called the “Rite of Sending” where the pastor questions godparents, the assembly, and even the candidates themselves as to their readiness to accept the Catholic faith.

If the responses are favorable, the the pastor and his RCIA team will bring the catechumens and candidates to one of the three Rite of Election ceremonies at the Cathedral for Bishop Estévez’ final approval.  As the shepherd of the diocese, the bishop will also question the godparents, the assembly, and the candidates themselves as to their readiness to receive sacraments. Bishop will meet each of the catechumens and candidates individually and give his approval for them to be received into the Catholic Church.

The Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion is one big step on the journey of faith for these catechumens (unbaptized) and candidates (baptized in another faith) as they begin their final period of preparation for initiation into the Catholic Church. During the 40 days of Lent, they will more fully participate in the life of their chosen parishes, using the 40 days as a retreat in preparation for reception of the sacraments at the Easter Vigil. During the 40 days, their preparation will focus on prayer, good works, and cleansing from all sin so to better receive the grace brought forth through the sacraments.

Please join all of us in the Diocese of St. Augustine as we pray for these 625 individuals as they embark on a new life in the marvelous light of God.