Rite of Election
and Call to Continuing Conversion
More than 170 men, women and children on the road to becoming Catholic were officially welcomed along the journey March 13 by Bishop John B. Brungardt at the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion, celebrated at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
The annual Rite of Election is a “call to continuing conversion” for all those candidates and catechumens who will be received into the Church at the Easter vigil.
Candidates are baptized members of another Christian denomination -- or baptized Catholics -- who are seeking confirmation and first Eucharist.
During the Mass, with their sponsors at their sides, the candidates would process to the baptismal font and dip their fingers in the holy water and make the sign of the cross.
Catechumens are individuals who have not been baptized and who are seeking baptism, confirmation and first Eucharist. With their Godparent at their side, the catechumen from each parish was called by name, and then came forward and signed their name in the Book of the Elect.
By THE MOST REV. JOHN B. BRUNGARDT
Bishop of Dodge City
Editor’s Note: The following is taken from Bishop John B. Brungardt’s homily given at the Rite of Election, March 13 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe. He began by calling children forward, before whom sat a gift-wrapped box on a table.
Who has a birthday this month? How about a wedding anniversary? In December we had Christmas. In May we will have many graduations. What is a custom we have about all these celebrations?
We give gifts to our family member or friend to show how special this day is, to show how we love them. A gift is freely given from the heart. We chose it especially for the person. The treasure fits them and their personality and their needs. They feel joy and love from receiving your gift.
What other treasures do we have besides material goods, besides “things”?
• Our health: Thank God for the health of families and ourselves
• A loving God: Psalm 63: “For your love is better than life”
• Our children: God blesses us so much with our children
• Our schools and religious education programs: We learn about God with these gifts
• Our nation: The Lord has blessed us with a fruitful land and many freedoms
• Our parishes and diocese and universal Church: We come together as a community of Christ
But there is another present, another gift, a more important treasure that we want to find. This treasure will bless us more than we can imagine. This treasure will make all these other treasures seems small. [The bishop calls forward a child, who opens the box and pulls from it a Crucifix.]
The treasure of eternal life was given to us on the cross by Jesus. He died a horrible death, and then rose in glory, so that you and I can have life, eternal life.
Catechumens, you are preparing to be baptized, to become Catholic Christians, to share in the gift of faith in Jesus Christ. This baptism “saves you … through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” as St. Peter wrote in the first reading.
Candidates, you are preparing to enter into full communion with the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church that Jesus began 2,000 years ago. “Savor the rich banquet of praise,” that God gives you in this faith, as our Psalmist wrote.
Someday, we will be reunited with our deceased family members and friends in the heavenly kingdom. All the treasures of our earthly life will seem small and insignificant. Material goods, nation, health, parish, all will not matter anymore. We will see God face-to-face. From Mark’s gospel: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”
Let us put the gift of the cross first in our lives. Let us make all other things secondary. Jesus, teach us to love you with our whole heart, mind, strength, and being. Jesus, your cross and your Catholic Church are our treasures. Jesus, you love us more than we can ask or imagine!