The Diocese of Raleigh celebrated the Rite of Election March 1, which was the first Sunday of Lent.
The Rite of Election, a call to continuing conversion for those who are coming into the Roman Catholic tradition from another faith tradition, is always celebrated during Lent.
According to Father Jim Sabak, O.F.M., director of Divine Worship, “Lent is historically focused on the final journey to the waters of baptism. Election is the recognition that God is always a part of this journey, and because Jesus goes into the desert for 40 days to discover this truth in his own life, so, too, now do the elect come to recognize it at the beginning of Lent’s 40 days.”
They are called the elect not because they are choosing to become Catholic but because God has chosen them.
“This is the time in which God moves the heart of the person to say, ‘Yes,’” said Bishop Zarama in his homily. “The best thing we can do is accompany them and be a presence of love and support.”
During the service, the elect signed their names in the “Book of the Elect,” affirming their desire to enter fully into the church.
“Lent is about renewing our own baptism,” explained Father Sabak. “Our primary objective as believers is to welcome more people into this community of faith.”