Rite of Election fills cathedral with joy twice

In ceremonies that twice filled St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria on Sunday, about 375 men, women and children from across the diocese began the final phase of their preparation for the Easter sacraments.

“We are blessed and proud to walk with you,” said Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, to the candidates and catechumens as well as their families and sponsors taking part in joy-filled liturgies called the Rite of Election and the Call to Continuing Conversion.

Traditionally held on the first Sunday of Lent, the Rite of Election recognizes the catechumens — those who are seeking the sacraments of baptism, confirmation and Eucharist at the Easter Vigil — as the “elect” chosen by God.

The Call to Continuing Conversion is celebrated by the candidates — those who have already been baptized and are now seeking to complete their initiation and be received into the full communion of the church.

Most of the catechumens and candidates are preparing through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults at their parishes.

Bishop Jenky told those gathered that people who come to the church later in life are often “the best Catholics because you do not take our faith for granted.”

The candidates and catechumens were presented to Bishop Jenky by Dr. Vincent McClean, diocesan director of catechetics, as well as representatives from their parishes.

Bishop Jenky then asked their godparents or sponsors about the preparations and readiness of those wishing to enter the church, and directed several questions to the candidates and catechumens themselves. After a round of applause, he then greeted each of them individually.

More than 50 parishes and institutions were represented at the two ceremonies. There were 271 candidates and 95 catechmens present.

Prayers were offered that the elect and the candidates grow in love and virtue, find joy in daily prayer, and share with others the joy they have found in their faith.

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