Anticipation of Easter joy evident as hundreds open Lent with Rite of Election

Sue Calderon reaches out to shake Bishop Jenky's hand after she and Father Paul Carlson of the LaSalle Catholic Community presented Matthew Franklin at the Rite of Election Feb. 18 at St. Mary's Cathedral in Peoria. Franklin will be received into the full communion of the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil on March 31. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

Even as Lent was beginning, the anticipation of Easter joy could be seen in the faces of the 177 men, women and children who were presented to Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, at the Rite of Election and the Call to Continuing Conversion on Feb. 18, the First Sunday of Lent, at St. Mary’s Cathedral.

Another 127 catechumens and candidates traveled to Peoria last Sunday, Feb. 25, to be recognized for and prayerfully supported in their desire to celebrate the Easter sacraments of baptism, confirmation and Eucharist. This second Rite of Election also took place at St. Mary’s Cathedral.

At Bishop Jenky’s request, those who will be received into the full communion of the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil turned to the assembly, which affirmed them with a round of applause. Their families, catechists, priests and deacons also pledged their prayerful support as the candidates make their final preparations for the Easter sacraments. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

“All of you enrich our faith,” Bishop Jenky told those who are preparing to be received into the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil on March 31. “Thank you for building up the body of Christ here in central Illinois.”

The catechumens are those who have not been baptized. After receiving assurances from their godparents that they have “faithfully listened to God’s word proclaimed by the church” and “responded to that word and begun to walk in God’s presence,” Bishop Jenky declared the catechumens to be “members of the elect, to be initiated into the sacred mysteries at the next Easter Vigil.”

The candidates, who are already baptized, are preparing to complete their Christian initiation be received into the full communion of the Catholic Church.

“The Church recognizes your desire to be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit and to have a place at Christ’s Eucharistic table,” Bishop Jenky told them. “Join with us this Lent in a spirit of repentance. Hear the Lord’s call to conversion and be faithful to your baptismal covenant.”

He urged the godparents of the elect and sponsors of the candidates, as well as the entire community of faith, to continue to provide their loving care and example for these new brothers and sisters in faith.

AFFIRMATION THROUGH APPLAUSE

The members of the elect and then the candidates lined up in the main aisle of St. Mary’s Cathedral to be presented to Bishop Jenky. Before they came forward, however, he asked them to turn and face the assembly and led a round of applause.

Following the prayer service, Bishop Jenky returned to the cathedral sanctuary for photographs. Among those who took the opportunity were Heather and Nick Sacco and their 12-week-old daughter, Natalie.

“She’s going to be a heartbreaker some day and she’s going to give Mom trouble,” Bishop Jenky told Heather, who will be confirmed and receive Communion for the first time at the Easter Vigil at St. Anne Church in East Moline.

For more on Heather Sacco’s journey into the Catholic Church, click here.

EDITOR’S NOTE: More photos from the Feb. 18 Rite of Election have been posted to The Catholic Post’s site on Facebook. 

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