Rite of Election
The Rite of Election is an important celebration in the process of RCIA. The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) is a formal process of evangelization and catechetical instruction, ascetically practice (prayer and spirituality), and liturgies whereby adults — called catechumens — are formally admitted into the Church and receive the Sacraments of Initiation — Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Eucharist.
During the course of the RCIA process, the individual follows a spiritual journey of “steps” accomplished through defined periods punctuated with formal rites. The Rite of Election closes the Period of the Catechumenate. This rite normally coincides with the first Sunday of Lent. At this rite, upon the testimony of sponsors and catechists and the catechumens’ affirmation of their intention to join the Church, the Church makes its “election” of these catechumens to receive the Sacraments of Initiation.
When the catechumens inscribe their names in the Book of the Elect as a pledge of fidelity, the Archbishop, as shepherd of the archdiocese, declares them “the elect’ (the chosen ones). They now begin a Period of Purification and Enlightenment — the final, intense preparation for the reception of the Sacraments of Initiation.
On the next five Sundays of Lent, three scrutinies (rites for self-searching and repentance) and the presentations of the Creed and Lord’s Prayer take place. This period concludes with the celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation at the Easter Vigil.
After the Easter Vigil, the newly baptized and confirmed members of the Church (technically called neophytes) enter the Period of Postbaptismal Catechesis or Mystagogy. The neophytes grow in their understanding of the mysteries of the faith and strengthen their bonding with the rest of the faithful.
They should enter more fully into the life and unity of the Church. This period normally ends around Pentecost. The RCIA is a spiritually moving process beneficial to each individual parish community and the Archdiocese as a whole.