Wednesday, 4 March 2009

The Rite of Election

Last Saturday the Rite of Election took place in the Catehdral. People come from all over the Diocese for this annual event, at which adults preparing to be baptised or received into the Church at Easter come to be formally accepted by the Bishop.

This year Bishop Campbell presided at the event. The early part of the service follows a similar structure to the Mass: there is a Liturgy of the Word consisting of an Old Testament reading, psalm and Gospel reading - the readings for the first Sunday of Lent were used.

In his homily the Bishop spoke about those joining the Church being drawn into a covenant with God: the covenant made in Christ, the last covenant and completion of all earlier covenants, such as the one made with Noah. Speaking of the Lord's temptation in the desert, he said that new members of the Church could also expect trials, but must always have confidence in the grace of God given to them. There were more words of encouragement: "You are turning to the Lord, to Him who offers us the fullness of life and truth through the ministry of His Church. Our prayer and our wish for you is this, 'May God who has begun this good work in you, bring it to completion.' " The full text of Bishop Campbell's homily can be found here.

After the homily the catechumens (those preparing for baptism) and candidates (those already baptised but not yet Catholic) were presented to the Bishop; after the formal proceedings they had the chance to come forward with their sponsors to meet him.

They were then brought on to the sanctuary as a sign of their being welcomed into the Church. Most of the candidates and catechumens will be received into the Church at the Easter Vigil. We are asked to pray for them over their final weeks of preparation.