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FRANKENMUTH — The Most Rev. Joseph R. Cistone, Bishop of Saginaw, celebrated the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion on Saturday, March 4, at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Midland and Sunday, March 5, at Blessed Trinity Church in Frankenmuth.
Each year, generally on the First Sunday of Lent, the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults [RCIA] celebrates the “election” of those catechumens who have been deemed appropriately prepared to receive the Easter sacraments by parish leadership. As a result of this rite, these catechumens — who will be fully initiated at the upcoming Easter Vigil — are called our “elect,” meaning those who have been “chosen." During the liturgical rite, the pastoral leaders, godparents, catechists and members of the faith community give witness to the bishop that the “chosen” catechumens are worthy and appropriately prepared for the Easter sacraments. As part of the Rite of Election, these “elect” are then invited to come forward with their godparents and inscribe their names in the Book of the Elect.
Also present at this diocesan liturgy are those who are already baptized in another Christian tradition and who desire to enter into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church and receive the sacraments of Eucharist and Confirmation. These candidates, who have been appropriately catechized and prepared within the parish community, are presented to the bishop. He celebrates a rite called the Call to Continuing Conversion to be enacted within their parish as their final spiritual formation during Lent to become full members in the Catholic Church.
Because of the numbers of both catechumens and candidates and the number and locations of parishes throughout the Diocese of Saginaw, there were two celebrations of the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion.