Cathedral to host Rite of Election, Call to Continuing Conversion Feb. 20, 21

Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, greets Donald Kotsikpa, a catechumen from Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Silvis during last year's Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion at St. Mary's Cathedral in Peoria. Facilitating the introduction is Deacon Al Angelo. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

In what may be one of the most normal signs of Catholic life in the Diocese of Peoria after a difficult year, those who are preparing to celebrate the Easter sacraments will gather at St. Mary’s Cathedral for the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion next weekend, the first weekend in Lent. Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, and Coadjutor Bishop Louis Tylka are scheduled to preside.

As has become the custom, the ceremony will be held twice — Saturday, Feb. 20, at 10:30 a.m., and Sunday, Feb. 21, at 3:30 p.m.

As The Catholic Post was going to press, parishes were planning to bring 47 catechumens or those to be baptized, and 89 candidates, who are already baptized. They will complete their Christian initiation through confirmation and reception of the Eucharist and make a profession of faith.

Phil Lee, director of the diocesan Office of Divine Worship, is still keeping an eye out to safeguard all present, however.

In addition to requiring people to wear masks and practice safe social distancing, the number of people who may attend has been limited, he said. St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria can only accommodate 250 people to stay within 25 percent of its capacity at this time.

Lee said a preliminary survey done last fall showed there was interest in continuing with the Rite of Election and that the number of people expected would allow the catechumens and candidates, along with their sponsors, to spread out sufficiently.

SOME SLIGHT DIFFERENCES

While much will remain the same, two major moments in the rite may look slightly different, Lee said.

The first is when the parish directors of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults announce the names of those who are being presented for baptism. That will still be done and the bishop will sign the Book of the Elect to finalize their enrollment, but the catechumens will likely remain in their places and be recognized there.

Usually, the newly elect gather in the center aisle of the cathedral and come forward to be greeted by Bishop Jenky.

The same will be done with those who are already baptized and being called to continuing conversion.

“Those are the big moments, to be presented to the bishop and then meet the bishop,” Lee told The Catholic Post. “We’re probably going to adjust those to be done individually in groups as the group pictures are being taken.”

So everything will be done, but at a different moment, he said, adding that the changes will keep movement around the church to a minimum.

While some have come to support the catechumens and candidates in terms of prayer and presence in previous years, Lee asked people to reconsider that this year.

“Currently all of the major events are planned to be livestreamed,” he said. “Even post-COVID that would allow those that may not have been able to participate in some of these events to participate — ordinations, Chrism Mass, even confirmations.”

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