Bishop greets 676 to become Catholic

Published: February 27, 2024

Bishop Anthony B. Taylor met 676 catechumens and candidates from 50 parishes during four Rite of Election services across the Diocese of Little Rock Feb. 15-19. Each year, bishops in dioceses worldwide personally welcome those going through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) process at the Rite of Election, a special service usually held at the beginning of Lent.

RCIA is offered at the parish level and generally begins in the fall and concludes with full initiation into the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil Mass. To learn more, visit the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

This year, the rite was held at Blessed Sacrament Church in Jonesboro Feb. 15; St. Vincent de Paul Church in Rogers Feb. 17; Christ the King Church in Little Rock Feb. 18; and St. Edward Church in Texarkana Feb. 19.

Of those preparing to become Catholic, 314 were catechumens. Catechumens are those who have not been baptized and are being formed in the Christian faith and life. The rest, 362, are candidates. Candidates are baptized members of other Christian churches who wish to become Catholic. 

During the Rite of Election, the bishop declares catechumens ready to receive the sacraments of initiation, which are baptism, confirmation and the Eucharist. Through this process, they become known as the "elect." At the same time, he calls candidates to continuing conversion as they prepare to be confirmed and receive first Communion. To learn more, study the RCIA Steps

“Do you seek to be a disciple of Jesus today? What do you seek?” asked Bishop Taylor while reflecting on the Gospel reading Feb. 18 at Christ the King Church. “Andrew recognizes that Jesus is the Messiah after spending only a few hours with him. Even today, spending time with Jesus is fundamental for recognizing him and putting our faith in him. … (Andrew) brings others to Jesus, beginning with his brother Simon, whom Jesus renamed Peter, thus giving him a new identity, a new vocation, a new mission in life. 

“The same is true for you, who today become members of the elect. You who seek to enter the Church and thus become a disciple of Jesus. So the question is now out there for you — What are you looking for? Salvation? If so, who do you seek? Jesus the Savior.”

If anyone is entering the Church through your parish, we invite you to follow the bishop's example and introduce yourself and welcome them to your parish community. To find out if you have elect or candidates in your parish, see the 2024 RCIA List. For more information, contact the Office of Faith Formation at (501) 664-0340.