On the weekend of March 9-10, which was the first weekend of Lent, 247 people came to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield to take part in the Rite of Election and the Call to Continuing Conversion. That number included 103 catechumens, 45 uncatechized Catholic candidates and 99 baptized Christian candidates. They were accompanied by priests, deacons, RCIA leaders, sponsors, godparents, families and friends who traveled with them.
Since the Cathedral isn’t large enough to hold all the people scheduled to come to the see city that weekend, people from Springfield and the immediate surrounding areas took part in the Saturday evening liturgy. Those who reside more than 50 miles from Springfield were there on Sunday afternoon.
Bishop Thomas John Paprocki was in Chicago with his mother who was in hospice care, so in his absence Msgr. David Hoefler, vicar general and moderator of the Curia, welcomed people to the Cathedral and presided over the liturgies.
During the weekend liturgies, in which the assemblies participate, Msgr. Hoefler ratified the enrollment of the names of the catechumens in the parishes’ Book of the Elect. From now until they are baptized, they will be known as “the elect.” He also recognized those baptized candidates who will complete their Christian initiation.
Now that the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion has taken place, nothing stands in the way of these people becoming Catholic. For them — as it should be for all Catholics — Lent is a time for purification and enlightenment.
The elect and the candidates will become full members of the church through the sacraments of baptism, confirmation and Eucharist at the own parishes during the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday, April 20.