By Liz Sullivan
“God calls each one by name. Everyone’s name is sacred. The name is the icon of the person. It demands respect as a sign of the dignity of the one who bears it.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2158).
The Diocese of San Jose celebrated the Rite of Election for 460 Catechumens on February 18 & 20 at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Joseph. At the Easter Vigil these men, women and children will be welcomed into the Church through the Sacraments of Initiation.
At the Rite of Election, usually coinciding with the first Sunday of Lent, there is testimony of sponsors and catechists and the catechumens’ affirmation of their intention to join the Church. Then the Church makes its “election” of these catechumens to receive the Sacraments of Initiation.
The catechumens inscribe their names in the Book of the Elect as a pledge of fidelity. Then the catechumens begin a Period of Purification and Enlightenment, the final and intense preparation for the reception of the Sacraments of Initiation. Over the course of the next five Sundays of Lent, three scrutinies’ (rites for self-searching and repentance) and the presentation of the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer take place. This period concludes with the celebration of Sacraments of Initiation at the Easter Vigil.
“Today we celebrate your Election. God called you long ago and now God chooses you for the Easter sacraments, in which you will be baptized and confirmed and share for the very first time in the Eucharist,” said celebrant Monsignor Francis V. Cilia. “Your life has changed. You have put on Christ. We call this ‘conversion.’ And you will never be the same. Along with the call to conversion, the Church invites you to conversation. These words are similar, for they are both about a turning. The first – conversion – is about turning around, about walking in a new direction. The other – conversation – means that we turn to others … we turn to the Lord, to those around us and, in a way, we turn to ourselves, we speak to our own hearts. For there, we will find the truth of our lives – the Lord who lives within each of us.”
Click here to read the entire homily.