Women, men and children on the journey to enter fully the Catholic Church are told
‘You have been called because you are special’
By DAVE MYERS
Southwest Kansas Register
Approximately 120 women, men and children on the road to entering fully the Catholic Church at Easter were officially welcomed along their faith journey Feb. 18 by the faithful of the diocese at the Call to Continuing Conversion and the Rite of Election celebration at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
One of the most significant events of the liturgical year, this is the official moment when candidates (baptized members of another Christian denomination — or baptized Catholics — who are seeking confirmation and first Eucharist) and catechumens (individuals who have not been baptized and who are seeking baptism, confirmation and first Eucharist) declare their commitment to entering fully the Catholic Church at Easter.
The candidates and catechumens, along with their families, godparents, and sponsors, came from every corner of the diocese, each waiting for that special moment when they would be called by name to sign the Book of the Elect, or to dip their fingers in the baptismal font.
The Most Rev. John B. Brungardt was unable to attend the celebration due to health concerns. In a letter to the gathering, the bishop wrote:
“Please know that you are in my prayer as you gather at our Cathedral to celebrate the Call to Continuing Conversion and the Rite of Election.
“Part of addressing health issues that I have had over these past two years is to seek further medical advice and to take time for rest and healing.
“Therefore I will not be with you for this celebration which marks such an important passage in your faith journey.
“I am keeping you in prayer at this time and throughout this holy season of Lent.
“Remember Jesus loves you more than you can imagine.”
+ Bishop John
Presiding at celebration was Father Robert Schremmer, Vicar General, who was assisted by Father Wesley Schawe, pastor of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and Sister Angela Erevia, Diocesan Director of Hispanic Ministry.
In his homily, Father Schremmer said to remember that even during those times when you may feel empty or without purpose, “You have been called because you are special.
“It can be so very easy for us to believe that we’re really not that special after all,” Father Schremmer said. “Wasn’t it on [Ash] Wednesday that we heard, Remember, you are dust and to dust you shall return? Yet, we also—at the very same time—were reminded of the Spirit that breathes that life-giving divine breath into us.
“Our specialness in God’s eyes remains true even when our hearts might seem empty, anonymous, without any special purpose.
“…Our lives, they may be empty or they may be full. They may be ever so faithful, or struggling with temptation. Here we are—here to be reminded that we are God’s special blessings—daughters and sons.
“So, come now, touch the water that reminds you of your baptism,” he said, referring to the candidates.
And to the catechumens (the “Elect”), he said, “I invite you to come and to write your name in the book of life.
“Today is special. Remember you are elected, called, chosen.”
As the choir sang the haunting song, “Wade in the Water,” candidates were called by name, and together with their sponsors, came forward to dip their fingers in the baptismal font, led by an usher and a banner-bearer carrying a tall pole with long streamers.
Then, after their parish was announced, the catechumens were called by name, and together with their Godparents, came forward to sign the Book of the Elect.
This is the final step before these individuals will fully enter the Catholic Faith at Easter through Baptism and Confirmation.
Following the celebration, everyone was invited to meet in the Holy Family Social Hall for a dinner reception