Over 1,100 in Archdiocese of Washington to Enter Into Full Communion with the Catholic Church this Easter

February 24, 2012

At the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion ceremony today, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, referenced Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical letter Deus Caritas est, that “we should reflect on God’s love for us which is expressed in the most extraordinary way…in the Passion and death of Christ and in his Resurrection, and in the promise of new and eternal life.”

This Easter, over 1,100 adults, teens and children will be baptized or confirmed as Catholics. At the beginning of Lent, which is the period of penance and reflection observed by Catholics leading up to the celebration of Easter, those who are being received into the Catholic Church are presented to Cardinal Wuerl in the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion ceremony. The Rite of Election marks the participants’ desire to become Catholic and kicks off a final period of intense spiritual preparation.

The Rite is held annually at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception over two Sundays to accommodate the large number of people who participate and bring their family members to share this significant day in their spiritual life. Today, 617 people were presented to Cardinal Wuerl in the Rite of Election, and an additional 549 will be presented next Sunday.

In his homily, Cardinal Wuerl noted that this year, the Lenten journey for the Catechumens and the Elect would mark a special and unique place in their faith journey, “so that this Easter, we might all celebrate as God’s people gathered in God’s home to celebrate the mystery of the passion, death and resurrection of Christ…that for us means our pledge of new life in Christ and eternal life in glory.”

At the Easter Vigil on April 7, the celebration of the sacraments of initiation will take place and the Elect will celebrate the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist, while the Candidates, having already been baptized, will celebrate Confirmation and the Eucharist.

The Archdiocese of Washington is home to over 600,000 Catholics, 140 parishes and 98 Catholic schools, located in Washington, DC, and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.

Chieko Noguchi
Office of Communications
[email protected]