The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) is the program of catechetical instruction for those adults needing the Sacraments of Baptism, Communion and Confirmation. Here at OLM we are truly blessed to have a great team led by Fr. Barrow who meet every Sunday to teach and learn about the Catholic Faith.
The candidates are non-Catholics who need full initiation into the Church, including Baptism, those non-Catholics needing to be fully received into the Church, and some baptized Catholics who need Communion, and Confirmation. Last Sunday afternoon two of our candidates received the Rite of Election at the Cathedral.
Bishop Tobin presided at the ceremony which had a large group of people from across the Diocese who are to enter into the Church at the Easter Vigil. At this rite, upon the testimony of sponsors, and catechists, and the catechumens' affirmation of their intention to join the Church, the Church makes its "election" of these catechumens to receive the Sacraments of Initiation.
In the presence of the bishop they inscribe their names in the Book of the Elect at the cathedral as a pledge of fidelity. Now the catechumens are called "the elect' or the illuminandi" ("those who will be enlightened"). They now begin a Period of Purification and Enlightenment — the final, intense preparation for the reception of the Sacraments of Initiation at Easter.
With great joy we offer our congratulations to two of our candidates who are now called “the elect.” Our “elect” from OLM are Sue Healey, she is to be received into the Catholic Church, and Al Behbehani who is to be baptized and fully initiated into the Catholic Faith. These last weeks of Lent are a particularly intense period of prayer and preparation for these catechumens as they ready themselves for the Sacraments at the Easter Vigil Mass.
I ask you to please keep them in your prayers, that they continue to grow in the faith and in the love and knowledge of God. We rejoice for the so many across the Diocese who have chosen to join us in living our Catholic Faith, and being active members of our Church. RCIA was traditionally called “Convert Class” until the renewal of the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s. But conversion isn’t only a term that applies to someone joining another faith tradition or church. Conversion is about a change of mind, and heart, that affects all the baptized. We are all called to a conversion to Christ in our daily lives.
The source of this daily conversion is our encounter with Jesus Christ in prayer, in good works, and in the Sacraments. We find this especially in our experience of his forgiveness, love, and mercy. Prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are the three traditional pillars of Lent. They are the embodiment of this conversion during this holy season. Lent calls us to renew our dependency on God and others through intense prayer, the experiencing of hunger and serving the needs of the poor. Conversion is truly living the incarnate love of God manifested at Holy Week, the final destination of our Lenten fast of forty days.
Next week we begin our Annual Parish Lenten Mission at OLM. We welcome Monsignor Doug Cook from Newport Beach, California. He and I studied together for the priesthood at the American College in Belgium and he is an old friend!
The theme of his mission is “A Lent to Remember, An Easter to Celebrate.” He will be preaching at all Masses next weekend and then will lead us each night of the Mission. A complete schedule is in the bulletin. This Mission is our time to depart from our regular routine and set aside an intense time of prayer and reflection. We needn’t go to a Monastery or Retreat House, but we gather right here at OLM! It is great way to renew our faith and live our call to conversion to Christ. So please mark your calendar and be sure to make the Mission!
I am grateful for your support of the Catholic Charity Appeal this weekend. This crucial collection funds the many good works of our Church in RI, and your support is vital. In the name of the poor, I offer my sincere thanks for your generous response.
It’s Lent! Don’t forget Fridays are for fish and Stations of the Cross! Do good. Be well. Pray, fast and give!