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More than 1,000 prepare to enter church at Easter

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

By David Eck

ARCHDIOCESE — Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion celebrations Feb. 21 marked the start of final preparations for 1,049 people who are planning to join the church at Easter.

The celebrations were held in Dayton and Cincinnati.

 

 Rite of Election
Candidates and catechumens at Immaculate Conception Church in Dayton. (CT/E.L. Hubbard)

During the celebrations, sponsors and godparents affirmed that candidates and catechumens are prepared to join the church, while the candidates and catechumens themselves announced their intention to come into the church, explained Karen Kane, director of the archdiocesan Worship Office.

Candidates are people who were either raised in another faith tradition or baptized Catholic but not raised Catholic. Catechumens are those who were not baptized in any faith tradition, Kane said.

At Rite of Election catechumens become “elect” and enter final preparation for the sacraments of initiation at the Easter Vigil.

“What the rite is celebrating is that God has chosen these men and women for the sacraments,” Kane said. “God has chosen these men and women for the Easter sacrament.”

The Call to Continuing Conversion is celebrated with candidates seeking reception into the full communion of the church, as well as Catholics who are completing their initiation through the sacraments of confirmation and Eucharist.

For candidates and elect, Lent is a time of purification and enlightenment, as they ready themselves to be able to profess their faith with the church, Kane said.

There are 452 catechumens and 597 candidates from the archdiocese this year, Kane said. The numbers of those entering the church this year are typical.

“In recent years we’ve been between 950 to 1,100,” Kane said. “It’s right in the middle of where we have been for the past several years.”

There are a myriad of reasons as to why people choose to enter the church, including family.

“Many times people come to the church because a family member is Catholic and they want their entire family to be Catholic,” Kane said. “I think what oftentimes happens is that people who have not been baptized now are finding a need for faith in their lives.

“There’s a whole variety of reasons why people come to the church,” she said. “Sometimes they come because they attended a funeral or wedding and their hearts were really moved by that liturgical experience.”

David Eck can be reached at [email protected].

See related story: Ten things to consider for the RCIA

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