Kudos to RCIA directors

By | February 24, 2010

The Diocese of Green Bay held the Rite of Election Feb. 21 at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in De Pere. Bishop David Ricken presided at the annual rite and, with a wide grin and hearty handshake, greeted the 54 catechumens and 232 candidates from around the diocese.

The 286 catechumens and candidates (now called the elect) on hand at this year’s Rite of Election surpassed last year’s number of 272. This slight increase also mirrors a growing Catholic population worldwide.

According to a Vatican report issued Feb. 20, the number of Catholics reached 1.166 billion in 2008 (the latest figures available). That was an increase of 19 million (1.7 percent) from 2007. In addition, Catholics represented 17.4 percent of the world’s population in 2008, up from 17.33 percent.

The number of elect who are seeking the sacraments of initiation at the Easter Vigil is a positive sign of the church’s growth in a culture that sometimes ridicules religion. It also is testament to the work of many Catholics involved in outreach ministry, particularly the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.

Throughout the diocese, hundreds of men and women spend hours preparing those who wish to become Catholic. Through the RCIA program, these ministers offer classroom instruction and one-on-one sessions about the faith. For them, the Rite of Election is a day to celebrate their hard work and a moment to catch their breath before entering the home stretch that is Lent and Holy Week.

This month, through Catholics Come Home, all active Catholics are experiencing just a small taste of what RCIA leaders experience year-round: the opportunity to welcome people into the church. Soon a new crop of catechumens and candidates will be knocking on parish doors with a desire to learn more about Catholicism and all that it offers for the spiritual journey. It will be our parish RCIA leaders who are charged with preparing them for the sacraments.

While the Rite of Election shines the spotlight on all those men and women journeying toward full participation and communion in the Catholic faith, a hearty “thank-you” goes out to all those who help prepare them for the sacraments of initiation. Without our parish RCIA leaders, catechumens and candidates could not experience such a welcoming presence or learn about the spiritual treasures that await them as members of Christ’s family.

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