On the weekend of Feb. 29-March 1, the first weekend of Lent, approximately 200 men, women and children from 50 parishes in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois came to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception to take part in the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion. That number included catechumens, uncatechized Catholics and baptized Christian candidates. They were accompanied by priests, deacons, RCIA leaders, sponsors, godparents, families and friends.
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 welcomed people to the Cathedral and presided over the liturgies. During those liturgies, in which the assemblies participate, Bishop Paprocki 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.” Bishop Paprocki 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. The elect and candidates will become full members of the church through the sacraments of baptism, confirmation and Eucharist at their own parishes during the Easter Vigil on Saturday, April 11.