Hundreds prepare to enter the church


Catechumens — those who have never been baptized — were presented to Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz during a Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion ceremony at the Cathedral of the Assumption March 4. About 500 people who are entering the church this year were recognized at ceremonies March 4 and 5. (Record Photo by Jessica Able)

By JESSICA ABLE, Record Staff Writer

More than 500 people who are preparing to enter the Catholic Church this Easter were recognized at the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion held at the Cathedral of the Assumption March 4 and at St. Peter the Apostle Church March 5.

At the ceremony at the Cathedral, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz formally welcomed the catechumens — those who have never been baptized — and the candidates — those who have been baptized in another Christian tradition.

He told the catechumens and candidates that it’s “no accident that brings you here today.”

“The readings of sacred Scripture tell us why we are here. The first reading from St. Peter tells you ‘You are beloved. You are chosen by God,’ ” he said.

Five hundred and six men, women and children from 55 parishes across the Archdiocese of Louisville have been preparing to enter the church through a process called the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). They will formally enter the church at the Easter Vigil on April 15 or at other liturgies during the year.

The catechumens signed their names in the Book of the Elect,

which is presented to the archbishop at the Rite of Election. By signing their names to the book, the catechumens state their intention to receive the sacraments of baptism, confirmation and Eucharist. There are 227 catechumens.

The candidates, who have already been baptized in another Christian tradition, will be confirmed and receive the Eucharist at the Easter Vigil. There are 279 candidates.

The archbishop asked the elect to recall the first person who spoke the name of Jesus to them. He told them it was his mother who first uttered Christ’s name to him “not in church but at home.”

“Once we begin to pronounce the name of Jesus he begins to invite us. He works on our hearts,” he said. “He tells us what is most important in life and he helps us build our life around the gift of faith.”

The archbishop said that while we can have second-hand clothes, we must never settle for a “second-hand faith.”

“Our faith is always a direct encounter with Jesus Christ,” he said.

The word “election” calls to mind “voting,” the archbishop said.

“But ‘elect’ means to call, to invite. So today at the Rite of Election, I, as archbishop, invite you and those who walk with you to come closer to Christ in the church,” he said.

Catechumens and candidates will not walk this path alone, he reassured them. Godparents, directors of religious education, RCIA coordinators and others “will walk with you during these weeks of Lent until we come to Easter.”

“When we come to Holy Week, that will be the time in which so many of you will be baptized or will be received into full communion in the church,” he said.

But, Archbishop Kurtz said, we are not ready yet. There is still some walking to do.

Although it is sometimes hard to see, the archbishop said, God has a plan for each person. He encouraged those preparing to enter the church to avoid being passive.

“Jesus always wants us to be active. I pray today that God shows you who it is that he is calling you to serve, to lead to Jesus in our church,” he said.

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