465 people prepare to enter the church

243 candidates and 222 catechumens
were recognized at two ceremonies

By JESSICA ABLE
Record Staff Writer

Individuals preparing to enter the Catholic Church were recognized during the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion ceremonies held at St. Patrick Church Feb. 25 and at the Cathedral of the Assumption Feb. 26.

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz told people at the Cathedral who are preparing to enter the church that Jesus chose each of them in a special way.

“The gift of the church is the invitation of Christ to the world. That’s what we are about this afternoon,” he said.

Two hundred and forty-three candidates and 222 catechumens were recognized at the two ceremonies.

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz greeted Paula Jacobs, a candidate from St. Edward Church, following the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion ceremony held at the Cathedral of the Assumption on Feb. 26.

Catechumens are individuals who have never been baptized and who will receive the sacraments of baptism, Eucharist and confirmation on Holy Saturday, April 7, at the Easter Vigil or at other ceremonies during the year.

Candidates are those who have been baptized in another Christian religion. They will receive the sacraments of Eucharist and confirmation.

In his homily, the archbishop said that not in any place in the Gospels did Jesus force his teachings on others. It was always an invitation.

The archbishop noted that to be an active Catholic, one must live the faith 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“As you deepen your faith, you must put it into practice in your daily life,” he said.

Paula Jacobs, a candidate from St. Edward Church, credits her grandchildren with her desire to enter the Catholic Church.

“It’s been something on my mind for a number of years (entering the church). I’ve always been interested in the Catholic faith,” Jacobs said in an interview prior to the ceremonies at the Cathedral.

Jacobs, who was raised Methodist and attended various Christian services through the years, said the timing felt right in her life, and she was called to enter the church this Easter season.

Last year, Jacobs and her daughter, Natalie Bednark, began searching for a preschool for her grandson, Eli. When they visited St. Edward School, the family fell in love with the school and the church community, Jacobs said.

Once her grandson was in enrolled at St. Edward, Jacobs inquired about the process to join the church.

“I wanted to be able to learn what the kids were learning,” said Jacobs, whose 7-year-old granddaughter Mya also attends St. Edward.

Jacobs’ daughter is also going through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) with her mother and will enter the church at the Easter vigil next month.

Jacobs said it has been special to go through this process with her daughter and said that she has learned so much from the weekly RCIA classes.

“I’ve learned more since I started this process about the Old Testament and the New Testament than I did in all the years of going to church,” she said. “I like how the classes interact with the next Sunday’s readings.”

Jacobs said her life has totally changed since she began the process of joining the church.

“I feel like a weight has been lifted off of me,” she said. “It’s made me want to be a better person.”

She is eager to be a part of the parish community and looks forward to growing in her faith.

“I really feel like I’m really welcomed. I’m 57 years old, and I’ve never had that feeling before,” she said.

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