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Bishop Gilmore, Catholic community,

welcome 170 people on road to entering

fully the Catholic Church at the
 

Rite of Election

See more photos from the event by clicking on the picture at left.

Editor's Note: The following includes Bishop Gilmore's homily in its entirety.
Click here for the names of all the catechumens and candidates, as well as the godparents and sponsors.
Click here for a 5 minute video presentation from the Rite of Election.

By David Myers
Editor

Approximately 170 men, women and children on the road to becoming Catholic were officially welcomed along the journey March 1 by Bishop Ronald M. Gilmore at the Rite of Election celebration.
With their families, godparents, and sponsors in attendance, the catechumens and candidates sat in sections of the cathedral reserved for their parish and awaited their turn at being called forward.
Candidates are baptized members of another Christian denomination -- or baptized Catholics -- who are seeking confirmation and first Eucharist. Catechumens are individuals who have not been baptized and who are seeking baptism, confirmation and first Eucharist.
During the celebration, Bishop Gilmore spoke of the poet, John Donne.
“In the Gospel reading of the Mass this morning, St. Mark told us not that Jesus was inspired to go to the desert, not that he was led to the desert, St. Mark tells us that Jesus was driven into the desert by the spirit. Driven, thrown like a ball into the desert, picked up bodily and pushed into the desert.
“The British poet John Donne, who died about 1630, never published a word all the while he was alive, but he also never stopped writing his beautiful poems. So we have today a wondrous collection of his religious and human and mystical perceptions of the world around him.
“John Donne was originally a Catholic, raised by very devout Catholic parents. He was taught by the Jesuits. His brother Henry died in prison after he was arrested for harboring Catholic priests during the persecution .... This led to John Donne’s loss of faith. He became an Anglican priest and was haunted by love as a theme, so long as his wife was still alive. After her death, he was equally haunted in all his poetry by the theme of death.
“One of those late poems is the fifth in the series he entitled, “Holy Sonnets.” I’d like to share a portion of that poem with you today as we celebrate this Rite of Election at the beginning of this Lenten season.
“Batter my heart, three-person’d God, for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend
Batter my heart, three-person’d God, for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
But I am betrothed to your enemy.
Divorce me. Untie or break that knot again.
Take me to you, imprison me for I except you enthrall me, never shall be free.
For you as yet but knock and breathe and shine and seek to mend those gentle ways are not enough for a sinner such as me.
Batter my heart, three-person’d God.
Bend your force to break, blow, burn and make me new.
You have to overwhelm me lord in my stubbornness.
You have to drive me into the desert as the Spirit today drove Jesus.”
What Dunn is saying my dear catechumens and candidates, is that we have to offer the Lord our very freedom, the most precious gift he gave us. He made us. We belong to him. He made our freedoms. It belongs to him. Our freedom is his. We shall never give it back to him until he comes to batter, break, blow, and burn our hearts and make us ne. So I ask you today on this special occasion, you 170 candidates and catechumens, I ask you today to give him your freedom during the remaining days of this holy season. If you do that you will come to the magic night of the Easter vigil, and you will find yourselves for the first time truly, lastingly free.

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