During rite initiates take step into Church

Published: March 19, 2019

Bishop Anthony B. Taylor met nearly 600 catechumens and candidates during four Rite of Election services in the Diocese of Little Rock March 7-11. Each year, bishops in dioceses worldwide personally welcome those going through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) process during the Rite of Election, a special service usually held at the beginning of Lent.

The rite was held at Blessed Sacrament Church in Jonesboro March 7; St. Vincent de Paul Church in Rogers March 9; Christ the King Church in Little Rock March 10; and St. Edward Church in Texarkana March 11.

Catechumens are those who have not been baptized and are being formed in the Christian faith and life. 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.

According to Deacon Marcelino Luna, diocesan associate director of faith formation, the bishop receiving the elect and candidates is "an outward expression of the choice already made by God."

"Those chosen are expected to be initiated into a life in Christ, which necessarily means of a life of mission," he added. "Before we send the catechumens for election, we must discern not if they know enough to ascent to Catholic belief, but if they are fit enough to take on the rigors of missionary discipleship."

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.

If anyone is entering the Church through your parish, we invite you 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 2019 RCIA List. For more information, contact the Office of Faith Formation at (501) 664-0340.