Catechumens declared ‘chosen in Christ’

By Catherine Sheehan

Six catechumens from across the Archdiocese formally declared their desire to be received into the Catholic Church at the Rite of Election ceremony held at St Mary’s Cathedral on Sunday 26 February.

“It is a work of God’s Holy Spirit that you are here today,” Archbishop Julian told the four men and two women who will receive the sacraments of Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation at the Easter Vigil Mass on 8 April.

“For this you will be forever grateful. God in his mercy has revealed Himself to you and drawn you to Himself.”

The catechumens, who were accompanied by their godparents as well as family and friends, signed the Book of the Elect, making them formally members of “the Elect”.

The six catechumens with their godparents at the Rite of Election. Photo: Josh Low

Archbishop Julian explained that the ancient Rite of Election, which takes place on the first Sunday of Lent each year, was an important event for the catechumens who have been receiving formation in the faith.

“Today marks a special moment in your journey towards full communion with the faith and life of the Catholic Church,” Archbishop Julian said.

“You have come to this point because of a mysterious action of God in your life. Jesus taught us a great truth when he said, ‘You did not choose me, no I chose you’.

“The longer we live the more we will discover this truth. You are choosing Christ by becoming a Catholic, but that is simply because he has first called you, moved in your heart and led you to Himself.”

Jeremy Foo enters his name into the Book of the Elect. Photo: Josh Low

Jeremy Foo who grew up in a Buddhist family in Malaysia said he felt “joy” during the ceremony.

“A lot of joy from the blessing received and being able to be elected by God on my journey of following Christ,” Mr Foo said.

He added that he was “nervous but excited” about receiving the sacrament of Baptism.

“I’m counting down to Holy Saturday and carrying out my duty as a faithful witness to the Lord Jesus Christ and his Gospel through the teachings, worship and practices of the Catholic Church, with my new identity.”

Michael Gattinger with his godmother. Photo: Josh Low

Michael Gattinger was also excited about entering the Catholic Church which he described as “the fullest expression of Christianity”.

Now living in Hobart, Mr Gattinger who grew up in Perth and was formally an atheist, said the Rite of Election was “a wonderful experience”.

“I felt an almost overwhelming sense of gratitude to the people around me and to God.”

Archbishop Julian told the catechumens that was a work of God’s Holy Spirit that they were there. Photo: Josh Low

Dr Christine Wood who runs the RCIA program for the Archdiocese said the occasion was significant for the catechumens as the Archbishop declared them to be “chosen in Christ”.

“For a lengthy period, these catechumens have listened attentively to God’s word, repented of sin, and with God’s grace they have changed their lives to follow Christ wholeheartedly,” Dr Wood said.

“The Rite was a moment of great joy for those accompanying the catechumens through the RCIA process.”

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