FALL RIVER — One of the highlights of each Lenten Season in the Catholic Church is the reception of candidates who have studied and prepared, through the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) ministry, to become full members of the Church.
Shortly into this Lenten season, Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., welcomed 13 Elect, representing seven parishes, into the Church at a ceremony called the Rite of Election, at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Fall River.
In addition, five Elect, from three other parishes, were received at a similar ceremony at their respective churches.
The Rite of Election ceremony concludes the Period of Catechumenate, when the candidates learn about the Catholic faith and prepare, with assistance and guidance from their sponsors, Catechists, and pastors.
Through lessons and prayer, the candidates work toward the next step, being received into the Church, at a service or Liturgy where they and the Catechists give testimony to the bishop, or presider, of their intent to become faithful members of the Catholic Church.
During the Rite, the candidates sign the Book of Election as a symbol of their fidelity to the Church and her teachings.
Now called The Elect, the individuals will receive the three Sacraments of Initiation; Baptism, Holy Communion and Confirmation.
In addition to welcoming the newest members of the Church, 20 Candidates seeking full initiation into the Church were recognized in their home parishes — seven in all.
The Candidates are usually people who have been baptized in the Christian faith, but have not received Confirmation or Holy Communion. They, with help from their sponsors, are continuing the formation process to be fully initiated into the Church at a Liturgy in Easter season.
Parishes with Elect at this year’s Rite of Election at the cathedral came from St. John the Evangelist in Attleboro; St. Mary in Mansfield; St. Anthony in East Falmouth; St. Mary’s Cathedral, Fall River; Holy Name of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, New Bedford; St. Mary, South Dartmouth; and Immaculate Conception in North Easton.
Elect were also welcomed into the Church at St. Mary in Norton; Our Lady of the Assumption in New Bedford; and St. Mary, South Dartmouth.
Candidates were recognized at their home parishes — St. John the Evangelist, Attleboro; Our Lady of the Cape, Brewster; St. Mary’s Cathedral, Fall River; St. Michael, Fall River; St. Francis Xavier, Acushnet; St. Joseph, Fairhaven; and St. Mary, South Dartmouth.