Rite of Election brings future Catholics to the Cathedral

More than 300 individuals took an important step toward initiation into Christ and his Church on Sunday, February 27, at Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral during the Rite of Election.

Bishop Luis Zarama welcomed all the attendees to the Cathedral because for many of them it was their first time there.

The Rite of Election for catechumens (those who have never been baptized) and the Call to Continual Conversion for candidates (those who are Christian but not Catholic) represent some of the last steps of preparation for individuals to enter the Catholic Church.

During his homily, Bishop Luis asked the catechumens what made them take the journey to becoming Catholic.

“This should be your own personal journey; no one should be here because another person made you come. It must be a personal decision,” he said. “People are there to help us, but the motivation should be Jesus himself. And the motivation should be to follow Jesus.”

“The center of our lives has to be Jesus Christ,” Bishop Luis continued. “You have a sponsor and teacher who have helped you in your journey. But you need to find your own way to be with Jesus.”

One of the Elect was Oluwaseun Asogbon, originally from Nigeria. After moving to the United States six years ago, she felt that it was the right time to become Catholic.

“I came from a culture of three faiths: Muslims, Christians and traditional so when I came to the United States, I learned about the Catholic faith and love it,” said Asogbon.

“This was a very important day, and I felt very happy, especially for my kids who are here with me,” said Jonathan Isidro Alvarado, another of the catechumens who has been preparing to receive the sacraments at St. Stephen the First Martyr in Sanford.

Patrick Ginty, Director of Faith Formation at the Diocese of Raleigh, explained that these catechumens—unbaptized persons studying and preparing to receive the sacraments— were declared to be members of the elect by Bishop Luis for the celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation.

"With the upcoming Easter celebrations, the catechumens that I now present are finishing their period of preparation," Ginty said, as he called each deanery to present their Book of The Elect. "They have found strength in divine grace and the prayers and example of the community."

Bishop Luis signed the books one by one as all the Catechumens walked onto the altar.

All the Catechumens that have been preparing for Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist now enter the Period of Purification and Enlightenment with the Rite of Election. This rite is given the name “election” because “the acceptance made by the Church is founded on the election by God, in whose name the Church acts.” (RCIA, no. 119)

Bishop Luis asked all those present to support the catechumens’ and candidates' testimony and include them in their prayers.  At the end of the ceremony, many of the future Catholics stayed in the Cathedral to take pictures to remember this special day.