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Diocese to Celebrate Rite of Election on March 1

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Diocese of Raleigh Announces Celebration of Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion

The Diocese of Raleigh will celebrate the Rite of Election and the Call to Continuing Conversion on the March 1, 2009, the First Sunday of Lent. As is the tradition in the Diocese of Raleigh, the Rite will be celebrated in each Deanery. The locations for the Celebration are:

Albemarle Deanery, Holy Family Parish, Elizabeth City at 4:00 pm, Very Reverend Samuel Buchholz, presiding; Cape Fear Deanery, Immaculate Conception Parish, Wilmington at 3:00 pm, Very Reverend March Leon-Angulo, presiding; Fayetteville Deanery, Saint Patrick Parish, Fayetteville at 4:00 pm, Reverend Monsignor Jeffrey Ingham, presiding; New Bern Deanery, Saint Paul Parish, New Bern at 3:00 pm, Very Reverend Ernest Ruede, presiding; Newton Grove Deanery, Saint Mary Parish, Mt. Olive at 3:00 pm, Very Reverend James Garneau, presiding; Piedmont Deanery, Saint Thomas More Parish, Chapel Hill at 3:00 pm, Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge, presiding; Raleigh Deanery, Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Raleigh at 4:30 pm, Very Reverend John Forbes, presiding; and Tar River Deanery, Saint Peter Parish, Greenville at 3:00 pm, Very Reverend Justin Kerber, presiding.

The Liturgy is in two parts: the Rite of Election of Catechumens preparing for the Easter Sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist, and the Call to Continuing Conversion of Candidates preparing for Full Reception into the Catholic Church through the Sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist.

The Rite of Election is a celebration of our being chosen by God. In the Gospel of St. John the Evangelist we hear Jesus tell his disciples and us that, “… it was not you who chose me, it was I who chose you to go forth and bear fruit (Jn 15:10).” Bishop Burbidge and his designates – the Dean of each Deanery - stands before the local Church and acknowledges through the public prayer of the Church God’s, call of the Catechumens is realized and celebrated along with their desire to enter into the Easter Sacraments. In this liturgy, those who have been known as “Catechumens” are now declared “Elect.” In being so declared, the Elect enter into the Period of Purification and Enlightenment, a period of more intense spiritual preparation for the Easter Sacraments. Along with the entire Church the Elect keep the Lenten Season and are a powerful sign to the whole Church of the fundamental call to conversion and spiritual recollection in preparation of the paschal mystery.

Similarly, those who are Candidates for Full Communion in the Roman Catholic Church also enter into the Period of Purification and Enlightenment. While already one with us in virtue of their Baptism, these Candidates witness to Our Lord’s call to conversion as part of the Christian commitment to root one’s life further in Christ. As those who prepare to receive the holy Eucharist and Confirmation, these Candidates remind us to be ever mindful of how we are to utilize the Gifts and Fruits of the Holy Spirit we have received through the grace of the Sacrament of Confirmation and hunger for Our Lord’s Real Presence in the Eucharist.

The faithful of the Diocese of Raleigh are encouraged to pray for each of the Elect and Candidates as they prepare for full initiation into the Church.