Rite of Election leads to formal entry into the church

By Patricia Kasten | The Compass | March 10, 2023

GREEN BAY — The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is the process by which new members enter the Catholic Church. (Some parishes now call it the Order of Christian Initiation because the formal translation of the rite from Latin is in the process of being approved by the Vatican.)

Bishop David Ricken celebrated the Rite of Election with people preparing to enter the Catholic Church in the Diocese of Green Bay at the Easter Vigil in their parishes, on April 8. The Rite of Election was held on Feb. 26 (the First Sunday of Lent) at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral in Green Bay. Forty-one parishes sent catechumans and candidates to the Mass. Deacon Lincoln Wood, left, pastoral leader of St. Thomas More Parish in Appleton, served as deacon of the Mass. (Scott Eastman | For The Compass)

The time of learning — called the catechumenate — begins with inquiries and exploration. Once someone decides on formal entry into RCIA, they do so at their parish to prepare for the sacraments of initiation at the Easter Vigil. These sacraments are baptism, Holy Communion and confirmation.

Those who intend to enter the church at the Easter Vigil are formally enrolled in their parishes and may participate in the Rite of Election at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral in Green Bay. At the rite, they place their names in the Book of the Elect in the presence of Bishop David Ricken. They are now formally “the Elect.”

There are two types of preparation. Those who have been baptized already are “candidates.” Those receiving all three sacraments of initiation at the Easter Vigil are called “catechumens.”

This year’s Rite of Election on Feb. 26 had 95 candidates and 47 catechumens, from 41 parishes take part.

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