Catechumens and candidates declare their desire for full communion in the Catholic Church

by Paul Braun | New Earth

Catechumens and candidates for reception into the Catholic faith gather with Bishop John Folda at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Fargo. (Paul Braun | New Earth)

The beginning of Lent brings with it a renewed purpose of reconciliation among the faithful, but it also signifies the final process for many desiring to be received in full communion in the Catholic faith. Those in the Diocese of Fargo who are participating in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), gathered for the Rite of Election celebration March 10 at the Cathedral of St. Mary in Fargo.

The celebration includes two rites. The first is the Rite of Election for the unbaptized, called catechumens, who will receive Baptism, Confirmation, and First Eucharist at the Easter Vigil on April 20. In this rite, on the basis of the testimony of godparents and catechists and the catechumens' reaffirmation of their intention, the Church judges their state of readiness and decides on their advancement toward the sacraments of initiation. Bishop John Folda declared the catechumens to be “members of the elect, to be initiated into the sacred mysteries at the next Easter Vigil.”

A young catechumen signs her name as part of the Rite of Election ceremony at St. Mary’s Cathedral. (Paul Braun | New Earth)

The second rite is the Rite of the Call to Continuing Conversion. Those participating are called candidates. They have already been baptized and are preparing for Confirmation and/or First Eucharist at the Easter Vigil. In this rite, according to Bishop John Folda, “the Church recognizes their desire to be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit and to have a place at Christ’s Eucharistic table. Join with us this Lent in a spirit of repentance. Hear the Lord’s call to conversion and be faithful to your baptismal covenant.”