By Ryan Blessing
The Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion Ceremony held Sunday, March 1 at the Cathedral of Saint Patrick was a significant event for the 30 catechumens and 60 candidates preparing to enter the Catholic Church.
“By accepting new members for the Church, we carry out the command of the Lord to proclaim the Good News to all of creation,” the Most Reverend Michael R. Cote, D.D., Bishop of Norwich, told them. “I rejoice with you, our catechumens and candidates. I welcome you, your godparents and sponsors, your family and friends and all those along with you on this journey. Let this day be a further experience of conversion and grace in your life.”
The catechumens, who have not been baptized, stood with their sponsors in the Cathedral of St. Patrick. In an act of recognition and admission, the bishop welcomed them to become members of the elect and be initiated into the sacred mysteries at the Easter Vigil.
One such catechumen on the path is 22-year-old Kyle Doucette, a Willimantic resident.
Kyle said that his father’s grandfather, before he passed away, made a request of Kyle.
“He said he wanted me to get baptized,” Kyle said while standing next to his sponsor, his uncle Rick Boisvert of Lebanon. “But I’m also doing it for myself.”
Kyle was interested in attending Mass from the time he was a young boy, his uncle said. Kyle would go to Mass when visiting his uncle and aunt, Kim Boisvert. The Rite of Election was important not only to Kyle, but his uncle and aunt as well.
“It’s very exciting. When he first came to me and said he wanted to do it, I was overwhelmed but very honored,” Rick said. “Honored and happy for him.”
Joining the family in the cathedral hall for refreshments after the service were the dozens of fellow catechumens as well as candidates, who have been baptized but have not received further sacraments.
In his homily, Bishop Cote referred to the gospel reading about Jesus’ journey alone into the desert for 40 days of fasting and prayer. Deserts, he said, are places of testing, encounter and renewal.
“It was the will of the Father that Jesus undergo this period of trial as an example for us, and what we might experience in life,” he said.
The catechumens and candidates have also undergone a period of preparation and trial.
“While not necessarily a desert experience, this time has been an exercise in purification. A time to study the faith, a time of prayer,” he said. “However, your reception into the Church will not be the end of your journey of faith. But rather, this reception is a beginning. A new beginning.”