Candidates and catechumens from across the Archdiocese gathered to celebrate the Rite of Election to make a significant step towards their reception into the Catholic Church.

Five celebrations of the rite took place on Sunday 6 March, the first Sunday of Lent, at St Chad’s Cathedral in Birmingham, St George’s in Worcester, St Michael’s, Penn in Wolverhampton, Holy Trinity in Newcastle-under-Lyme and the Immaculate Conception, Bicester.

The celebration of these liturgies marked the beginning of the final period of preparation for the reception of the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist. Catechumens and Candidates are now encouraged to follow our Lord Jesus Christ with great generosity.

The presentation of the elect took place after the Homily and saw the catechumens, candidates and sponsors meet the Archbishop and Auxiliary bishops who were presiding at the celebrations.

Archbishop Bernard Longley, presiding at the service at St Chad's, said:

"Even before the formal, sacramental moment when you become members of the Catholic Church, at the end of Lent, your lives have already been touched by the love of Christ and you have heard him beckoning you to be at his side in the desert. 

"You are responding to the invitation in St Paul’s Letter to the Romans:  If your lips confess that Jesus is Lord and if you believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, then you will be saved."

He concluded by saying:

"You are already united with all of us in a special way as we begin our Lenten pilgrimage, above all through our recommitment to the three ways that we try to deepen our faith in this season.  You are already taking up the weapons of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

"These peaceful weapons of self-denial have taken on a different significance this year, as we look with horror and great sadness at what is happening in Ukraine even as we are gathered here.  We recall the heartfelt request of Pope Francis this year to fast for peace and to pray that our Lady the Queen of Peace will preserve the world from the madness of war.

"The pathway that you are walking is a life-long search for holiness and it will lead you towards perfect holiness in the Kingdom of God. 

"That holiness bears fruit in our relationships with others as we bring the gifts of peace, truthfulness, justice and integrity into our daily dealings with one another.  May holiness be sustained in you through the scriptures and the sacraments and as you continue to confess that Jesus is Lord and to believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead."

Read Archbishop Bernard’s Homily in Full

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Rite of Election celebrations 2022