RCIA: The Rite of Election
On the First Sunday of Lent, 14 February, Catholic cathedrals across the World were filled with large, expectant and, possibly, slightly apprehensive congregations. They were about to take part in a very special celebration: The Rite of Election.
The Rite of Election is part of the R.C.I.A. (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) process. People who want to become Catholics, have already spent some time preparing and studying our faith in their own parishes. Now they are brought by their parish priests, their sponsors and their catechists to meet Bishop Patrick and to express publicly their intention to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church. In recognition of their commitment their names are enrolled in the Book of the Elect.
This year, at our Cathedral of St. Barnabas in Nottingham, 161 people from 38 parishes across the diocese came to make that commitment. One of them was from St. Mary’s, Grantham. James McErlean, together with his sponsor, his grandfather, and his grandmother took part in the celebration, accompanied by Father Chris and two of our catechists. James was slightly worried, at first, about what to expect but ultimately found the whole experience very uplifting. He was particularly impressed to see so many others taking the same step forward as himself.
Returning to the parish, James will now complete the RCIA programme and, hopefully, will be received into the Church at the Easter Vigil on March 26th.
The RCIA programme has been running in the Diocese for over 30 years but is a relatively recent addition to our parish – this is our eleventh year. Its significance for the Church as a whole cannot be underestimated. Across the country over 2,000 candidates were enrolled this year, and it is both gratifying and humbling to realise that the Church still appeals in an increasingly secular society.
The Parish RCIA programme normally meets weekly from September to May, if there are candidates who are interested in learning more about our Catholic faith.
If you are interested, or know someone who is, please speak first to our Parish Priest, Father Christopher O’Connor, on 01476 563935 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He will be happy to help you.