Bishop Johnston celebrates Rite of Election for 335 individuals

Catechumens inscribed their names in the Book of the Elect to show their fidelity to continued conversion and commitment during the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion held Sunday, February 18 at the Cathedral of St. Joseph.  (Sara Kraft photo)

By Sara Kraft

“I want to welcome all of you today to your Cathedral for this special point in your journey of faith,” Bishop Johnston said. “You began by first being accepted into the order of Catechumens in which the first stirrings of faith in your heart moved you to change, to confirm your life more to Christ in prayer and to a sense of the Church.”

On Sunday, Feb. 18, Bishop Johnston traveled to the Cathedral of St. Joseph in St. Joseph, Missouri for the Rite of Election and the Call to Continuing Conversion for the Catechumens and the Elect in the ‘far Northland.’ Participants traveled from St. Gregory Barbarigo in Maryville, Church of the Annunciation in Kearney, Holy Trinity Parish in Weston, Twelve Apostles Parish in Platte City, St. Rose of Lima Parish in Savannah, and Cathedral, St. Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe, and St. Francis Xavier parishes in St. Joseph. This was one of three options for the rite offered for those in the Diocese of Kansas City–St. Joseph who are preparing to receive the sacraments of initiation (baptism, confirmation, and Holy Eucharist) at Easter. Additionally, two Rites of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion were offered Saturday, Feb. 17 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Kansas City. Between the three offerings, there were 335 total catechumens and candidates, 295 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and 40 at the Cathedral of St. Joseph.

“Today marks an important second step – the Rite of Election,” Bishop Johnston said. “Today, the church makes a decision – a judgement if you will – about your readiness to advance toward the sacraments of initiation: baptism, confirmation, and Holy Eucharist. Ultimately, it is God who has chosen you as elects and the church is acting in His name.”

If you have been to the movies lately, the first fifteen minutes present trailers which prepare you for the future, Bishop Johnston explained. The Scripture readings for the Rite of Election act in the same way as they prepare one for full initiation into the Catholic Church through the sacraments of initiation, the Scriptures read show us what to expect.

“The first reading from Ezekiel (36:24-28), foreshadows baptism in which God will cleanse you by water and the Holy Spirit of your sins and give you a new heart and make you a temple of the Holy Spirit, so that you belong totally to him – so much that we can use the same title that Jesus does for God: Father,” said Bishop Johnston.

Bishop Johnston reminded the Catechumens and the Elect of the mission of Jesus.

“In a sense, Jesus is on a rescue mission in which we were all hostages. His death and resurrection was a ‘jail break’ of sorts,” explained Bishop Johnston. “He has broken open the jail and with his word and with the sending of the Holy Spirit to us, calls us to come out of the prison and into a new life of freedom.”

“You all have received this gift of faith and have heard the word of Jesus to come out of the darkness and the jail and into a new life,” explained Bishop Johnston. “The bottom line of all of this? This is the story of your salvation.”

Following Bishop Johnston’s homily, the catechumens and candidates were presented and the Catechumens inscribed their names in the Book of the Elect to show their fidelity to continued conversion and commitment. Each individual was personally greeted by Bishop Johnston following the rite.

“This is one of the highlights of my year,” Bishop Johnston said. “It is because of all of you. I see what God is doing in all of you.”

The rite is important because it “is a recognition by the Church of their call from God to enter full communion of the Catholic Church through the sacraments of initiation. It includes a commitment on our part to continue to come with them and a public commitment on their part to continued conversion,” Bishop Johnston said.

“This new life begins with the Easter sacraments and it continues in the community of those who belong to Him. As we mark this important step along your journey, I urge you to continued conversion in Christ, to get rid of all the old leaves of sin and to a commitment to follow the commandments; to a life of prayer and of service; to knowing and embracing the treasury of faith and life,” challenged Bishop Johnston. “In other words, ‘to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received’ the words of St. Paul we heard in today’s second reading. Embrace this now as your mission, all of you known as the ‘elect.’”


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October 28, 2020
The Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph