A parish representative presents the Book of the Elect — which includes a list of catechumens from his parish — during the Rite of Election to formally recognize new members of the Catholic faith as well as continuing conversion of candidates preparing for Confirmation and/or Eucharist. The Rite was celebrated at Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral Sunday, March 5. (Jeff Grant/CATHOLIC SUN)

Nearly 600 catechumens — those discerning full communion in the Catholic Church — were received during this year’s Rite of Election celebrated March 5 at Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral.


Outline for Phoenix and U.S. bishops


50-something RCIA Lenten resources

Year-round catechumenate

History of catechumenate

The rite continues a nine-month process that began last summer for individuals wishing to become Catholic and baptized Catholics in need of Confirmation. The process culminates with the celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation during the Easter Vigil Mass.

“They could go all the way through the process and say, ‘I’m not ready,’ and that would be fine. It’s their decision,” noted Dcn. Lou Cornille of St. Patrick Parish of Scottsdale, which this year has 31 individuals taking part, including eight who are on schedule to become new Catholics.

“This is a huge deal. The Lord is tapping these people on the shoulder. They want to partake in the Catholic liturgy, the Eucharist, Baptism and Confirmation,” Dcn. Cornille explained.

Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted referenced that theme in his homily, noting that the journey of faith begins with a call from God.

“Jesus says, ‘It wasn’t you who chose me, it was I who chose you. Sometimes, we think, ‘Isn’t it great I chose to be a catechumen?’ Well, first He chose you.

What are we doing at the Rite of Election?

“Today, the Church confirms that each of you who are catechumens have indeed heard and responded to Him calling you,” he added. “It was He who called. It wasn’t just your imagination.”

The bishop also thanked the pastors and sponsors who are shepherding each catechumen through the process, prior to formal presentations of the Book of the Elect from each of the 49 participating parishes. The books contain the names of each catechumen. Preparation covers Church history, the sacraments, learning to read Scripture, prayer and personal testimonies.

Fernando Cruz places his hand on the shoulder of Guillermo Lopez, both of St. Jerome Parish during the Affirmation of the Catechumens at the Rite of Election at Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral March 5. Cruz is sponsoring Lopez, one of dozens of Catechumens recognized during the rite. (Jeff Grant/CATHOLIC SUN)

Albert Lomeli of St. Jerome Parish said his own experience as a catechumen led him to become a sponsor. He tearfully recalled the catalyst that led him to begin the process: his daughter asked him why he didn’t receive the Eucharist at her first Communion and he told her because he wasn’t Catholic.

“It helped me out so much and I felt this joy it gave me, I just wanted to bring that joy and spread that love to everyone else,” he said.

For Leonce Gateranya and Edward Joseph, both of St. James Parish in Glendale, the rite had even more meaning.

Gateranya and Joseph came to the United States nearly a decade ago to escape the strife and turmoil of civil war in their native Burundi, in central East Africa, where Joseph said violence made church attendance difficult.

“For many years, we didn’t have this chance to sit down and go to church,” said Joseph, noting how moving it is to join the Church here. “There’s a power behind it.”


Rite of Election around the world


Rite of Election photos from the bishop’s blog in Peoria, Illinois

(from Saskatchewan)

(from the UK)