Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion Ceremonies to Begin this Weekend

February 24, 2012

This Easter season, over 1,100 adults, teens and children will be presented to Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, at the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion ceremonies, and will be baptized or confirmed as Catholics.

The participants come from approximately 100 parishes and five university campuses across the archdiocese, as well as two military base chapels. Because of the large numbers of people this year, the Archdiocese of Washington is holding two ceremonies at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception; the first on Sunday, February 26, 2012 and the second to be held the following Sunday.

The Rite of Election marks the participants’ desire to become Catholic and kicks off a final period of intense spiritual preparation, called Purification and Enlightenment. During the Rite of Election, godparents for the non-Christians (Catechumens) vow 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 7, the celebration of the sacraments of initiation takes place at each of the parishes. 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 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.

Brie Hall
Office of Communications
[email protected]