With North Carolina ranking 5th in the nation in number of new coronavirus cases per capita, the diocese continues to adopt protocols to maintain the health and safety of the faithful. Bishop Luis Rafael Zarama delegated the annual celebration of the Rite of Election to the parishes and pastors of the diocese for 2021.
The Rite of Election Mass is normally a diocesan-wide liturgy celebrated by the bishop at Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral on the First Sunday of Lent. With hundreds in attendance from parishes across the diocese, catechumens -- those preparing for baptism, confirmation and First Eucharist -- sign their parish’s Book of the Elect publicly, demonstrating their intention to receive the sacraments at the Easter Vigil Mass.
The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) was designed primarily for adults who have not been baptized, nor formally catechized in the dogmas and doctrines of Christianity. The Rite, therefore, places particular focus on the journey of the unbaptized to the waters of Baptism, the chrism of Confirmation, and to reception of the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist.
This journey is one of profound transformation in the whole person who undertakes it, and in order that this profound transformation be recognized as pivotal in the lives the catechumens, the First Sunday of Lent is centered on the transition of the Catechumens into the Elect.
On February 21, Bishop Luis and the community of Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral received the catechumens during the 10:00 AM Mass.
In his homily he said the coronavirus, like sin, is invisible. “For the virus, we have a vaccine, but for sin, it is another medicine, and it's free and without side effects.” said Bishop Luis. “The Lord is inviting us to find time for silence and learn to listen to God’s voice and our own voice.”
Bishop Luis said Jesus took 40 days to pray in silence, and he is asking us to make that time to be with him and ourselves to listen and open our hearts to Jesus. “Every day is an opportunity to discover more about our relationship with Jesus Christ,” he said. “This is the first week of a journey to find joy, peace love and mercy in our lives.”
Watch the bishop's First Sunday of Lent homily at Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral below.