Over 1,100 To Enter Into Full Communion with the Catholic Church

March 10, 2011

Sitting in a small school house in a suburb of Jakarta, Indonesia, Kenneth Wingate reflected on what led him to this heavily concentrated Muslim corner of the world. The 41 year old Pentecostal Christian had embarked on a Catholic missionary journey, even before completing the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) process to be fully received into the Catholic Church. A man of strong Christian faith, Ken spent a month in Indonesia, volunteering at a Catholic school. Half a world away, RCIA coordinators from St. Mary in Rockville provided Ken with materials related the lessons, and Ken made arrangements for an Indonesia Catholic priest to tutor him on the Creed and the Sacraments.

Ken is among the over 1,100 adults, teens and children who will be presented to Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, at the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion, and who will be baptized or confirmed as Catholics this Easter season. The Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion ceremonies are to be held this month.

Sunday, March 13, 2011
3:00 p.m.
Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
400 Michigan Avenue, NE
Washington, DC

The participants come from approximately 100 parishes across the archdiocese.

Because of the large numbers of people this year, the Archdiocese of Washington is holding two ceremonies; the second to be held on Sunday, March 20.

As a gift from Cardinal Wuerl, all of the Candidates and the Elect will be given a copy of Cardinal Wuerl’s book, The Sacraments: A Continuing Encounter with Christ, which is published now in English and Spanish. In the book, the Cardinal clearly and concisely explains the seven sacraments and their role in the life of the Church.

The Rite of Election marks the participants’ desire to become Catholic and kicks off a final period of intense spiritual preparation. During the Rite of Election, godparents for the non-Christians (Catechumens) vouch that the Catechumens are ready to be baptized. After asking the Catechumens if this is what they want, Cardinal Wuerl declares them “the Elect,” who have been chosen by God to enter the Church. Similarly, the Cardinal formally recognizes the readiness of those already-baptized Christians (Candidates) to be received into full Communion with the Catholic Church.

At the Easter Vigil on April 23, the celebration of the sacraments of initiation takes place. The Elect celebrate the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist. The Elect are now called Neophytes, and they are considered to be full members of the Christian faithful. They will continue on with a period of reflection called Mystagogy, which means ‘savoring the mysteries’, and lasts from Easter to Pentecost.

The Candidates, having already been baptized, celebrate Confirmation and the Eucharist at the Easter Vigil. There, the Candidates will embrace full membership in the Catholic Church.

The Archdiocese of Washington is home to nearly 590,000 Catholics living in Washington, DC and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.

Brie Hall
Office of Communications
[email protected]