Bishop welcomes 315 at Rite of Election

Bishop Johnston with (from left) Michele Moon, St. Gregory RCIA Director, Jennifer Frederick, Michael Frederick, and (back row from left) Jack Frederick age 11, James Frederick age 8, and sponsor Jessica Walker following the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion March 10 at the Cathedral of St. Joseph. Jennifer, Jack, and James will enter the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil. (Sara Kraft/Key photo)

By Sara Kraft

“I was a hard core atheist because I could never get straight forward answers from other denominations,” said Hunter Spicer, age 18. “Catholicism was the first church that made sense. It has changed me completely. I am more devout. I pray way more than I ever had. Instead of fearing Hell, I fear losing God by going to Hell.”

Hunter is one of 160 catechumens and 155 candidates from forty-seven parishes across the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph who participated in one of three Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion ceremonies. Hunter will be entering the Church at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in St. Joseph at the Easter Vigil and he attended the Rite of Election and Call of Continuing Conversion at the Cathedral of St. Joseph on Sunday, March 10. To accommodate the large number of catechumens and candidates, two additional rites were held at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on Saturday, March 9.

“This Rite of Election and Enrollment of names marks an important moment,” Bishop Johnston said. “You catechumens and candidates are concluding the lengthy time of formation of mind and heart and now you begin the more intense preparation for the sacraments of initiation. Over this time you will be encouraged to follow Christ with greater generosity.”

Bishop Johnston told the catechumens and candidates many people present would give testimony on their behalf and the Church will make a judgement about their readiness to advance towards the sacraments.

“Baptism is celebrated at all ages,” Bishop Johnston said, “not because of the size of the bowl, but because of the size of God’s love, which is infinite. God calls us all, at all ages, and at different times, to enter his Family, the Church.”

Bishop Johnston told the candidates and elect that Lent, and the Christian Life is about combat – warfare. He gave them some words of wisdom as they prepare for the final weeks leading up to the Easter Vigil.

“Satan’s goal is not necessarily to get Jesus, or us, to deny God, but to get us not to trust Him. The devil wants us to doubt God,” warned Bishop Johnston. “In other words, when we begin to mistrust the things that keep us in right relationship with God, we start to turn to other things for our security. We begin to see obedience to the covenant as a straitjacket limiting our freedom.”

All of this points to the covenant, the relationship based in the sacred promise that God has made the human race through Jesus. “Baptism, confirmation, and Holy Eucharist bring about the covenant and make it a reality, but it requires fidelity and commitment on our part; a day to day, year to year commitment to trust in God and live for him in obedience,” Bishop Johnston said.

Following Bishop Johnston’s homily, catechumens (who will be baptized at the Easter Vigil) wrote their names in the Book of Elect. Both catechumens and candidates (those who have already been baptized but seek full initiation into the Church through the Sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist) were personally greeted by Bishop Johnston.

“It’s just a joy to see so many people coming into the Catholic Church,” Bishop Johnston said. “Choosing to enter the family of God. What strikes me this year is how many young people are coming into the church.”

One of these families is the Frederick family from St. Gregory Barbarigo in Maryville. Eight year old James, 11 year old Jack, and mother Jennifer will join the Catholic Church. “He (husband Michael) has been Catholic his whole life,” explained Jennifer. “Our children are students at St. Gregory Catholic School. We felt it was time to join their church family. And it’s an amazing church family.”

Bishop Johnston offered final words of encouragement to the catechumens and candidates.

“As we move through these 40 days of Lent, and as you all now move with anticipation toward the Easter sacraments, let us all enter into combat with Jesus at your side,” encouraged Bishop Johnston, “never doubting His covenant promises to Jesus.”


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October 29, 2020
The Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph