More than 150 candidates respond to God’s call to faith
Archbishop Timothy Costelloe speaks to candidates and catechumens at the annual Rite of Election celebration at St Mary’s Cathedral on Thursday, 18 February. Photo: Ron Tan
By Rachel Curry
The beauty of Christian initiation came alive last month when 165 people responded to God’s call to faith at the Rite of Election ceremony at St Mary’s Cathedral.
The annual Lenten ceremony – an Extraordinary Liturgy known as the Rite of Election of Catechumens and Formal Recognition of Candidates – was presided over by Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe and his delegates, Auxiliary Bishop Don Sproxton, Vicar General Father Peter Whitely and Cathedral Dean, Monsignor Michael Keating.
During the ceremony, the catechumens (who are unbaptised) and the candidates (who have been baptised in other Christian denominations) presented themselves, alongside their sponsors, to become full members of the Catholic faith.
The names of the catechumens were inscribed in the Book of Elect and the names of the candidates were inscribed in the Book of Recognition.
Bateman Assistant Parish Priest Fr Christian Irdi with candidates and catechumens at the social gathering following the Rite of Election ceremony at St Mary’s Cathedral. Photo: Ron Tan
The ceremony marks the end of the catechumenate period for those converting to Catholicism and the beginning of the final, more intense preparation period before they receive the Sacraments of Initiation – Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Communion – at Easter.
During his homily for the occasion, Archbishop Costelloe thanked those present for electing to enter into the Catholic community and promised to welcome them with open arms.
“In a much more fundamental way, however, to speak of your election means that God has chosen you,” he said.
“You have cooperated with Him generously and, in many cases, courageously – perhaps some of your own family and friends will find it incomprehensible that you have made such a choice – but it is God who has been at work in your life, often quietly and unobtrusively, gently leading you to the time and place in your life where you have been able to hear His call and respond with your ‘yes’,” he said.
Archbishop Costelloe encouraged the catechumens and candidates to reflect deeply on this idea that they had been chosen by God, out of all others, to receive the extraordinary gift of faith and find a home in His Church.
“My prayer is that, as you reflect on this wonderful gift of God to you, a deep faith, that is, a deep and sustaining trust, will be borne and grow in your hearts and in your lives,” he said.
“Each day, and especially as you approach your Baptism or your entry into full Communion with us, allow yourselves to hear in the depths of your heart the voice of God saying to you, ‘Do not be afraid, I have called you by your name, you are mine. I will be with you’.”
Archdiocese of Perth RCIA Co-Ordinator, Karen Hart, speaks to catechumens and candidates, together with their families and friends, gathered for the annual Rite of Election ceremony. Photo: Ron Tan
The Archdiocese’s Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) co-ordinator, Karen Hart, said the ceremony was particularly special because it recognised that God calls people into the life of the Church.
“This evangelical mission is the Good News story of the Church today,” she said.
“Each one of the candidates has experienced a very special journey of personal conversion within parish communities.”
Ms Hart also praised the massed choir, made up of about 50 singers drawn from parishes around the Archdiocese, for a beautiful performance during the ceremony.