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Rite of Election Celebrated in Diocese

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The Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion was celebrated at three locations in the Diocese of Raleigh on Sunday, February 17, 2013, the First Sunday of Lent. The Rite and Call will be held at two more locations on February 24.

The Rite and Call are a celebration of the Diocesan Church, presided in most Dioceses by the Bishop at the Cathedral. With more than 900 Catechumens and Candidates entering the Church at this year’s Easter Vigil, the celebrations are being held at five sites since the 320-seat Sacred Heart Cathedral and Diocesan churches are not large enough to accommodate the Candidates, Catechumens, parish RCIA leaders and families.

On February 17, the Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge celebrated the services at St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Chapel Hill. Reverend Monsignor David D. Brockman, Vicar General of the Diocese, conducted the liturgies at St. Peter Church in Greenville; and Very Reverend Carlos Arce, Vicar for Hispanics, presided at the Rite in Spanish at St. Mary Church in Goldsboro. The celebrations involved 336 Catechumens and 205 Candidates representing 55 of the Diocese’s 96 parishes and missions.

During the celebration, the Candidates (baptized) and Catechumens (unbaptized) began the next step in their spiritual journey. At the Easter Vigil, the celebration of the sacraments of initiation are bestowed 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 explained to the Candidates and Catechumens that the word “election” in Rite of Election is from the literal translation of the Latin word for “chosen.” Speaking to the faithful, the Bishop noted, “As we begin this Lenten season, we realize that we too have been chosen for ongoing conversion.

“This is indeed a great day for the Church and for the Diocese of Raleigh,” Bishop Burbidge said, “because it is true, dear friends, you have been ‘chosen,’ you are the ‘elect’ of Christ Jesus our Lord!” 

On February 24, Bishop Burbidge will celebrate the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion at Sacred Heart Church in Pinehurst. Msgr. Brockman will celebrate the Rite and Call at St. Mark Church in Wilmington. Both services will be at 4:00 p.m.

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Above: Catechumens, Candidates, parish RCIA leaders, and families attending Rite of Election and Call to Conversion celebration at St. Thomas More Church in Chapel, one of five celebrations taking place in the Diocese.

Above: Bishop Michael F. Burbidge signing the Book of Elect for St. Andrew the Apostle Church, Apex during Rite of Election.

Above: Bishop Burbidge, Father Scott McCue, pastor of St. Thomas More, and Deacon Phil Rzewnicki at Rite of Election held in Chapel Hill.