Deb Wagner
Freelance Writer
March 16, 2011 // Local

Catechumens and candidates gather with bishop at cathedral

Deb Wagner
Freelance Writer

Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades greets a candidate and her sponsor during the Call to Continuing Conversion at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne on March 13, the First Sunday of Lent. Candidates will be entering into full communion with the Catholic Church in the coming weeks.

More photos from the rite of election can be found here.

FORT WAYNE— The Rite of Election of Catechumens and the Call of Candidates to Continuing Conversion were celebrated at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne on Sunday, March 13. On March 20, the Second Sunday of Lent, these rites will be held in St. Matthew Cathedral, South Bend, at 2 p.m.

Catechumens are those unbaptized people who will be entering the Catholic Church by receiving the sacraments of initiation — Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist — at the Easter Vigil on the night of April 23. Candidates are those who are already baptized and are now preparing to complete their initiation and enter into full communion with the Catholic Church.

The catechumens and candidates were from Fort Wayne and parishes in the eastern portion of the diocese. All together over 450 catechumens and candidates from throughout the diocese are expected for the two liturgies.

At the liturgy, each catechumen was called by name and came forward with his or her godparent for recognition by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades during the Rite of Election. Every parish presented a Book of the Elect containing the names of all the catechumens from that parish to be signed by Bishop Rhoades. Having participated in this rite, the catechumens are now referred to as the “elect,” because they have been officially recognized as ready to receive the Easter sacraments this year.

Then, after the Rite of Election, the candidates were also called forward as part of the Call to Continuing Conversion and were escorted by their sponsors to greet Bishop Rhoades.

Catechumen Linsey McGuffy is 12-years-old and from the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne. She desires to enter the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil in imitation of her mother and grandmother, who are practicing Catholics.
Ashley Mathews from St. Charles Borromeo Parish, Fort Wayne, beamed with excitement as she said the Rite of Election of Catechumens was the first time she stepped foot in the cathedral and she was just “blown away” by what she saw inside.

When asked about her journey, she said that she had asked her husband, a non-practicing Catholic at the time, “if they could just please go to church somewhere.” It was when she attended the parish penance service a year ago at St. Charles Borromeo, that she found a home. Once she saw all of the priests from neighboring parishes present to hear confessions she “fell in love with the Catholic Church.”

The sacrament of Reconciliation also lured candidate Patrick Dahman II from St. Therese Parish in Fort Wayne. Patrick was baptized Catholic and raised in the Missouri Synod Lutheran faith. He walked away from all churches during his high school years, but several years later preached in Disciples of Christ churches. He said he always felt a pull to Catholicism and returned because of the fullness of faith that is present in the sacraments.

Danielle Andrews from St. Mary of the Assumption Parish in Decatur is looking forward to entering into full communion with the Catholic Church in order to “strengthen her relationship with God and follow the path of righteousness.” She is hoping to marry in the Catholic Church someday.

Bishop Rhoades said to all catechumens, candidates and guests in his homily, “Every one of us in this cathedral has the desire to see God. This desire is in our nature, even though many who live in our secularized culture ignore it. Yet, God continues to draw men and women to Himself. In His plan of loving goodness, God wills to share His divine life with us, His creatures. And so He sent His only-begotten Son so that we might share in the divine life as His adopted sons and daughters, by the grace of the Holy Spirit.”

Bishop Rhoades said, “It gives me much joy every year to celebrate this Rite of Election, to meet hundreds of people in our diocese who have heard this Good News and are responding to it by a profound act of faith. You are truly responding to our Lord’s gift of grace.”

To the catechumens who are preparing for Baptism, Bishop Rhoades said, “From that moment on, you will belong forever to Christ, marked with His indelible seal, and incorporated into His holy Church.”

The bishop said to be Christian disciples is to abide in Jesus Christ and to love one another as He has loved us “is our common vocation.”

Bishop Rhoades addressed the desire of those already baptized Christians to be in full union with the Catholic Church by stating: “In doing so, you will be more firmly united to Christ and receive an increase in the gifts of the Holy Spirit through the sacrament of Confirmation.

“The center of your life in Christ will be the Holy Eucharist, the most intimate union with Jesus we can experience on this earth,” he said. “The Lord who loved us and gave His life for us on the cross remains mysteriously in our midst in His Eucharistic presence.”

Bishop Rhoades asked that all pray fervently for the catechumens and candidates as they enter into their final weeks of preparation for the Easter sacraments.

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