Candidates and catechumens from across the Archdiocese gathered to celebrate the Rite of Election and make a significant step towards their reception into the Catholic Church at Easter.
This year’s Rite of Election liturgy was held on the First Sunday of Lent, Sunday 26 February, and celebrated at St Chad’s Cathedral by Archbishop Bernard Longley.
Almost 40 parishes were represented and over 100 candidates and catechumens present at the ceremony.
It was a most joyous celebration at an almost full cathedral with clergy, religious brothers and sisters, candidates, catechumens and their families all present. Plus, musical accompaniment from a choir made up of people from across the Archdiocese.
This special ceremony marked the beginning of the final period of preparation for the reception of the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist. Catechumens and candidates are now encouraged to follow our Lord Jesus Christ with great generosity.
In his sermon Archbishop Bernard discussed the journey of discernment and discovery that the catechumens and candidates had been on:
As you know, the Church often refers to such a journey as a ‘pilgrimage’, a journey with other people which has a particular reason and focus.
On that journey, you have been accompanied by your sponsors and family members, together with your catechists and parish clergy, who have enabled you to grow deeper in your understanding of the faith. They have supported you in your growing friendship with the Lord.
As I’m sure you have also experienced, that journey is not without its challenges. As with all life, there are moments of questioning and uncertainty, but also moments of calm and tranquillity. Your patience and generosity in responding to God’s call have now brought you to St Chad’s Cathedral to celebrate this ‘Rite of Election’.
This moment marks the beginning of your final preparations before receiving the Sacraments of Initiation, when you will become full members in the family of the Church. As those words read out by Deacon Martin at the beginning of our celebration remind us, each of you now become the elect, because the acceptance made by the Church is founded on the election by God, in whose name the Church acts.
I hope and pray that this moment will also be marked in your own hearts with great joy as the focus of your journey during these unfolding days of Lent becomes the paschal mystery and the joy of Easter.
The Rite of Election involved the presentation of the candidates, affirmation by the sponsors, affirmation by the assembly and invitation and enrolment of names.
Parish priests, together with their catechumens, candidates and sponsors, then met with Archbishop Bernard, Bishop David Evans and Canon Paul Fitzpatrick (Episcopal Vicar).
Candidates and Catechumens represented the following parishes:
St Chad’s Cathedral
Our Lady & All Saints, Stourbridge
St Peter’s, Bloxwich
St Mary the Mount, Walsall
St Mary of the Angels, Aldridge
St Thomas of Canterbury, Walsall
The Abbey, Erdington
St Philip Neri, Smethwick
Sacred Heart & Holy Souls, Tipton
Our Blessed Lady & St Thomas of Canterbury, Dudley
Chinese Chaplaincy/ St Augustine’s, Solihull
Sacred Heart, Tunstall
Newman House Catholic Chaplaincy
Our Lady of the Angels, Nuneaton
Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Bulkington
& St Francis of Assisi, Bedworth
St Osburg’s, Coventry
Sacred Heart, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent
St Augustine of Canterbury, Meir, Stoke-on-Trent
St Francis Xavier, Oldbury
& The English Martyrs, Blackheath
Holy Trinity, Newcastle-under-Lyme
St Wulstan’s, Wolstanton
Our Lady of Lourdes, Hednesford
St Patrick’s, Walsall
Our Lady of the Assumption, Maryvale
Christ the King, Kingstanding
St Mary & St Modwen, Burton on Trent
Holy Cross & St Francis, Walmley
Our Lady of Fatima, Quinton
St John the Evangelist, Banbury
Sacred Heart, Blackbird Leys
St Austin’s, Stafford
Our Lady of the Assumption, Swynnerton
St Mary’s, Harborne
Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, Rednal
St John Fisher, West Heath
Blessed Carlo Acutis, Wolverhampton.