Rite of Election held for hundreds on path to becoming Catholic
Nearly 800 people in the Diocese of Charlotte have taken a step forward on their path to becoming Catholic – a journey that will culminate with them being received into the Church during the Easter Vigil next month.
During what is called the Rite of Election, people who wish to be baptized into the Church, called catechumens, are designated as elects by Bishop Peter J. Jugis. The rite is combined with the Call to Continuing Conversion for non-Catholic baptized people, called candidates, who wish to be received into the Catholic Church.
The ceremony is traditionally held on the first Sunday of Lent, but given the large number of catechumens and candidates, their sponsors, guests and families, the Diocese of Charlotte usually opts to conduct it in three locations: Asheville, Charlotte and the Triad area.
On Feb. 26, more than 500 people from parishes in the Triad area came to support the 150 catechumens and candidates at Holy Cross Church in Kernersville.
On March 3, more than 1,100 people came out to St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Charlotte to support the 450 catechumens and candidates of the area who will be fully initiated into the Church at the Easter Vigil.
On March 4, approximately 600 people from various parishes of the western region came to support the 180 catechumens and candidates at St. Lawrence Basilica in Asheville.
Diocesan officials counted 2,250 people coming out to support the 770 catechumens and candidates at all three events. The 770 does not include those who were not able to come, or those who will also be initiated during Pentecost. Last year, the diocese received 950 new members and diocesan leaders hope to attract the same number this year.
The diocesan Commission on the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) assisted the bishop and the parishes in preparing for this Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion.
— Dr. Cris V. Villapando