Candidates and catechumens ‘chosen by God … elected for a new life’

Laura Keener, Editor

“The sign of an active parish, that the parish is indeed alive with Jesus Christ, is bringing in new members, assisting people to hear God’s voice,” said Bishop Roger Foys at this year’s Rite of Election. “COVID-19 has affected the lives of everyone and every institution, including our parishes, but despite this pandemic you are here. My congratulations to the parish priests and all the people in the parishes you represent, for not only keeping the faith but sharing the faith.”

In two services at the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption, Feb. 21, 46 candidates and 32 catechumens from 23 parishes were presented to Bishop Foys for the Rite of Election. Candidates are baptized Christians seeking full communion with the Catholic Church. Catechumens are unbaptized persons converting to Catholicism. During the Rite of Election Catechumens are accepted as this year’s “elect” — God’s chosen people — and are enrolled in the Book of the Elect. Both the elect and the candidates will enter into full communion with the Church during the Easter Vigil, April 3, at their parish.

During his homily, Bishop Foys explained that the word “election” as it is used in the Church, is quite different from what is familiar in the United States and politics.

“When we hear ‘election’ we think of opposing candidates vying for the same position. One will be a winner. That is not how we mean election in the context of what we do,” he said. “You have been chosen by God, you have been elected for a new a life.”

Bishop Foys acknowledged that on this day, in cathedral churches all over the world , the chosen come together with their sponsors and pastors to “answer God’s call and be enrolled in the body of believers.”

“Each of you has your own story about what it was that you recognized as the call from God — what it was that has led you to this time, to this place, on this day, to answer that call to join the community of believers in the Catholic Church,” Bishop Foys said. “We thank God you are being chosen and for you answering God’s embrace now for a new life.”