Rite of Election: 350 take major step to reception into church at Easter Vigil

Father David Whiteside of St. Patrick Parish in Havana and Immaculate Conception in Manito presents Sara Frye to Bishop Jenky at the Rite of Election Feb. 21 at St. Philomena Church in Peoria. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

More than 350 people who are “longing for the Easter sacraments of baptism, confirmation and the Eucharist” or to be received into full communion with the Catholic Church were recognized by Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, at the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion as Lent began.

Because St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria is undergoing a “once-a-century” renovation and restoration, the prayer services were hosted by St. Patrick Church of Merna in Bloomington on Feb. 14, and at St. Philomena Church in Peoria on Feb. 21. At each one, Bishop Jenky encouraged the catechumens and candidates to continue their preparations to be received into the church at the Easter Vigil through steadfast prayer and trust in the Lord.

Bishop Jenky greets 6-year-old Piper Leddell, who will be baptized at the Easter Vigil at Epiphany Church in Normal. Looking on is RCIA coordinator Rich Sealy. Piper's parents, Chasity and Courtny Leddell, are also preparing to be received into the Catholic Church. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

Bishop Jenky greets 6-year-old Piper Leddell, who will be baptized at the Easter Vigil at Epiphany Church in Normal. Looking on is RCIA coordinator Rich Sealy. Piper’s parents, Chasity and Courtny Leddell, are also preparing to be received into the Catholic Church. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

“Every year when we have these rites of Election I feel a little bit like a new father — well, a maybe a new grandfather — welcoming new life into the family,” Bishop Jenky said as he greeted those who braved snow and icy roads to be at the Rite of Election in Bloomington. “I give thanks to God for your presence here and for the gifts you will bring to the church.”

He also thanked God for the priests and catechists who are leading them on the journey to the Easter sacraments.

Looking out over the people who filled the pews of St. Philomena Church the following Sunday, Bishop Jenky said, “Truly, this is one of the happiest occasions of our liturgical year. . . . The Holy Spirit is alive and well and present in all of you and you bring your gifts to our community of faith.”

BAPTISM FOR 93

At parishes around central Illinois, 93 children, women and men will be baptized and confirmed and receive the Eucharist for the first time at the Easter Vigil on March 26. These catechumens were declared members of the “elect” at the Rite of Election.

“My dear catechumens, God is always faithful to those he calls; now it is your duty, as it is ours, both to be faithful to him in return and to strive courageously to reach the fullness of truth, which your election opens up before you,” the bishop said, before greeting each one personally.

There are 265 people who are already baptized and will complete their Christian initiation by being confirmed and receiving the Eucharist or being received into full communion with the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil.

Saying he was pleased “to recognize their desire to participate fully in the sacramental life of the church,” Bishop Jenky urged them to “hear the Lord’s call to conversion and be faithful to your baptismal covenant.”

Anna Catour presents the Book of the Elect from Christ the King Parish in Moline to Bishop Jenky. The book contains the names of those who will be baptized at Christ the King at the Easter Vigil. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

Anna Catour presents the Book of the Elect from Christ the King Parish in Moline to Bishop Jenky. The book contains the names of those who will be baptized at Christ the King at the Easter Vigil. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

He also addressed their sponsors, asking them to let the candidates “see in you a love for the church and a sincere desire for doing good. Lead them this Lent to the joys of the Easter mysteries.”

Bishop Jenky also welcomed each of these men and women personally.

He stayed after each ceremony to answer questions and pose for photos as long as the catechumens, candidates, their sponsors and families wanted.

Msgr. Stanley Deptula, rector of St. Mary’s Cathedral and the bishop’s master of ceremonies, invited them all to the mother church of the Diocese of Peoria for a Mass for New Catholics on Sunday, May 8. It will be celebrated by Bishop Jenky at 10:30 a.m.

EDITOR’S NOTE: More photos from these ceremonies have been posted to an album on The Catholic Post’s Facebook site.

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