Rite of Election ceremonies at cathedral on March 9, 16

Family reunion is one of the phrases Dr. Vincent McClean uses to describe the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion, which will be celebrated on March 9 and 16 at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria. Each ceremony will begin at 3:30 p.m.

“People see it’s a bigger church. When that cathedral is filled not only are the candidates and the catechumens a part of that but everybody is a part of that and it creates a support system so they’re not just out there by themselves,” said McClean, director of the diocesan Office of Catechetics, which oversees the Rite of Christian Imitation of Adults.

“You bring everybody together and celebrate what they’ve worked at,” he told The Catholic Post. “You see them light up.”

Catechumens are those who have not been baptized. At the Rite of Election they will be declared “the elect” — chosen by God to be his own. McClean anticipates that 115 catechumens will be welcomed by Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, at the prayer services on the First and Second Sundays of Lent this year.

Candidates are those who have been baptized, either in the Catholic Church or another faith tradition, and now seek to complete their initiation through the sacraments of confirmation and/or the Eucharist. Bishop Jenky will call 236 men, women and children to continuing conversion at the ceremonies on March 9 and 16.

Last year marked the first time that the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion were held on two consecutive Sundays, rather than having two ceremonies on the First Sunday of Lent. Bishop Jenky requested the change to make travel easier for those who would be coming from around the diocese in uncertain weather and it was a success, according to McClean.

Not only was the cathedral filled on both occasions, but people left with a booklet of information on the Rite of Election and upcoming opportunities for spiritual renewal.

“Every chance we get to catechize and talk about the rituals and the ceremonies of the church gives them a better understanding of what they’re getting into,” he said.

As is his custom, Bishop Jenky will return to the sanctuary after each prayer service to pose for photographs with parish groups and individuals who want to mark this important step in their faith journey.

“The bishop is always so good at welcoming them and talking to them and taking pictures,” McClean said. “It’s like old home week.”

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