Hundreds continue faith journey, fill cathedral at Rite of Election

Photo Caption: Hundreds of candidates and catechumens from throughout the diocese continued their journey toward the Easter sacraments at the Rite of Election on Feb. 21.

By: By Tom Dermody

The rituals that twice filled St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria last Sunday with men, women and children from across the diocese taking an important step in their journey of faith did not include a homily. But the smile of Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, preached its own joyful message.

“You strengthen my faith, and you make your bishop a very happy man,” Bishop Jenky said in welcoming remarks to those attending the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion on Feb. 21.

The cathedral pews were filled at both afternoon and evening rituals with those who are preparing to enter the Catholic Church at Easter as well as their godparents, sponsors, catechists, families and friends.

During the Rite of Election, 139 catechumens — those who are preparing to be baptized, confirmed and receive the Eucharist for the first time at the Easter Vigil at their parish churches — were called forth by parish presenters. After they and their godparents answered questions from the bishop, he declared them to be “members of the elect,” called by God to the sacraments of initiation.

Taking part in the Call to Continuing Conversion were 268 persons who have been baptized in other faith traditions and are preparing for confirmation and/or the Eucharist or reception into the full communion of the Catholic Church at Easter. Known as candidates, they and their sponsors also affirmed their intentions before the bishop, who later greeted them individually.

Each group received applause from the assembly.

Dr. Vincent McClean, director of the Office of Catechetics, presented the candidates and catechumens. Prayers were offered that during the remainder of Lent they grow in virtue, dwell on God’s word, and share with others the joy they have found in their faith.

Heavy snow that was forecast for the western regions of the diocese kept some parish groups from attending this year’s rituals.

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