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More than 900 Welcomed in Rite of Election

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More than 900 men, women and children took part in the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion held in the Diocese of Raleigh on February 26 and March 4. The Rite was held at five parishes in the Diocese, with the Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge presiding at the celebration at St. Peter Church in Greenville on February 26 and St. Thomas More in Chapel Hill on March 4.

Reverend Monsignor David D. Brockman, Vicar General of the Diocese, presided at the Rite at St. Anthony of Padua in Southern Pines on February 26 and at St. Mark Church in Wilmington on March 4. Father James F. Garneau, V.F., presided at the Rite held at St. Mary of the Angels Church in Mount Olive on March 4 for Spanish-speaking Catechumens and Candidates.

During the celebration, the Candidates (baptized) and Catechumens (unbaptized) took the next step in their spiritual journey. This year, there are 466 Catechumens (Elect) and 443 Candidates entering the Church in the Diocese. The breakdown according to the five sites:

St. Peter, Greenville (12 Parishes represented)
42 Catechumens
56 Candidates

St. Anthony of Padua, Southern Pines  (15 Parishes represented)
135 Catechumens
128 Candidates

St. Thomas More, Chapel  (20 Parishes represented)
167 Catechumens
184 Candidates

St. Mark, Wilmington (9 Parishes represented)
62 Catechumens
40 Candidates

St. Mary of the Angels, Mt. Olive (7 Parishes Represented)
60 Catechumens
35 Candidates

At the Easter Vigil, the celebration of the sacraments of initiation will take place with the former Catechumens, now called Elect, receiving the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Communion. The Candidates (having already been baptized) only celebrate Confirmation and the Eucharist. The Elect are now called Neophytes, and they are considered to be full members of the Christian faithful.

In his homily, Bishop Burbidge spoke of the Candidates and Elect as having been “chosen” by God. “We, your Bishop, pastors, pastoral administrators, parish leaders, catechists and all the faithful, rejoice with you this day and assure you of our desire to support you,” Bishop Burbidge said.

Quoting St. Peter, the Bishop added, “To do so, we must embrace with renewed zeal the Lenten disciplines of prayer, fasting and sacrificial giving that assist us.” 

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Watch Bishop Burbidge’s homily (Windows Media)

Read Bishop Burbidge’s homily

Above: Sponsors, families and friends of 351 Candidates and Catechumens at the Rite of Election held March 4 at St. Thomas More Church in Chapel Hill, one of five sites hosting the Rite in the Diocese. (Click photo to view larger.)

Above: Bishop Michael F. Burbidge signing the Book of Elect for one of the 20 parishes represented at the Rite in Chapel Hill. (Click photo to view larger.)

Above: Father James F. Garneau signing the Book of Elect for one of the seven parishes represented at the Rite of Election held at St. Mary of the Angels Church in Mount Olive. (Click photo to view larger.)