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Number joining the church at Easter increases for first time since 2013

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Archbishop of Cincinnati Dennis M. Schnurr presides at a Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion rite in 2013. (CT Photo/Jeff Unroe)
Archbishop of Cincinnati Dennis M. Schnurr presides at a Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion rite in 2013. (CT Photo/Jeff Unroe)

This year 880 adults and children will enter the Roman Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, beginning Sunday Feb. 14 with the Rite of Election and the Call to Continuing Conversion. For the first time since 2013, the number of those preparing to enter the church at Easter is higher than the preceding year.

Those participating in the Rite of Election and the Call to Continuing Conversion mark the most public counting of people who become Catholic each year. While there is no requirement to participate in these public events to become a Catholic, most who enter the church through the RCIA process do so.

Over the past eight years, the number of those entering the church at Easter in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati has generally declined. In 2009, 1,125 entered while in 2015 there were just 857. The last increase over a preceding year came in 2013 when 1,023 entered the church, up from 1,016 in 2012.

The Rite of Election is celebrated with those who are unbaptized and preparing to receive the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist at the Easter Vigil.  The Call to Continuing Conversion is celebrated with those already baptized, but desiring to be received into the Roman Catholic Church.  Additionally, baptized Catholics who are completing their initiation through the sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist are also called to continuing conversion at this celebration.

The Rite of Election and the Call to Continuing Conversion marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. This season of the Church year is dedicated in a particular way to the final preparation period of these men, women, and children as they prepare to enter the Church.

The term “election” refers to the fact that God has chosen these catechumens for membership into Christ’s Body. During this public celebration, the Church discerns their readiness and affirms their intention to advance toward the Easter Sacraments.

Nearly 4,000 catechumens, candidates, parish members, family and friends will gather for these rites that mark this step on the journey of faith.  These gatherings are one way in which the Archbishop and Auxiliary Bishop can be involved in the initiation process of these soon-to-be Catholics.  Also, it is an opportunity for those involved in the initiation process to experience a sense of being incorporated into the larger Roman Catholic community.

This year there will be four celebrations, all on Sunday, Feb. 14. Two celebrations will take place at the Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains. The first is 3:30 p.m. and the second at 7:30 p.m. Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr will preside at both.

In Dayton, two celebrations will take place at Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church also at 3:30 and 7:30 p.m. with Auxiliary Bishop Joseph R. Binzer presiding.

Parishes have been assigned to a particular celebration according to the deanery in which they are located.

Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion numbers since 2009
2009 – 1,125
2010 — 1,049
2011 — 1,100*
2012 — 1,016
2013 — 1,023
2014 — 946
2015 — 857
2016 — 880
*Estimate

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