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Important Rites for Adults “Becoming Catholic”

02-05-2016Eric Westby

During Lent our RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) candidates participate in important ceremonies that bring them ever closer to realizing their Catholic dream. This is the time when the unbaptized catechumens and previously baptized candidates enter into immediate preparation for the Easter sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist. This period focuses on  purification and enlightenment, and is characterized by deep prayer and turning away from sin.

To highlight this important formation, the Church gives us specific rites (public ceremonies) to mark the progress of the candidates. Those already baptized will participate in the Penitential Rite on February 21 at the 11am Mass. The community is lead by the priest in prayer for the candidates and their deliverance from evil. For the unbaptized catechumens, Lent is abundant with rites. 

The Rite of Election is the first ceremony when, based on the declaration of their sponsors, the catechumens receive a change of status in the Church. No longer are they catechumens (receiving intensive catechetical instruction); they are now “elect”, affirmed by the Bishop to receive the sacraments of initiation (Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist). This ceremony takes place in two parts. The first is a “sending forth” from our community that will occur at the 11am Mass on February 14. The second part is the actual Rite of Election, later that afternoon, presided over by Bishop Olmsted at the Saint Simon and Jude Cathedral. This ceremony includes catechumens from all around the Diocese of Phoenix. 

Finally, a version of a Penitential Rite called Scrutinies, will be offered for three consecutive Sundays (2/28, 3/6 and 3/13) at the 11 am mass at STA. The Elect will be held up for public prayer so that they can be released from the power of evil.


We ask that you keep our catechumens and candidates in your prayers during this important time, as they prepare to be fully initiated into the Church, the living body of Christ, at the Easter Vigil Mass.

In Christ,
Eric Westby
Director of Catechesis


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