On Sunday, March 5, the first Sunday in Lent, Bishop Richard J. Malone will celebrate the Rite of Election and the Call to Continuing Conversion at St. Joseph Cathedral, 50 Franklin St., Buffalo, at 3:30 p.m. for the Diocese of Buffalo. The Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion mark the final stage of preparation to become Catholic. The Rite of Election is for those who have not been baptized and have chosen to live in the Catholic faith. The Call to Continuing Conversion is for those who have been baptized in another Christian tradition but now wish to become Catholic.
This year, 153 individuals are expected to be fully initiated into the Catholic faith and will attend the service along with their sponsors, catechumenate teams, parish priests, friends, and families. Among the group are 10 children under the age of 16 including four siblings who will participate in the Rite of Election. This life-giving celebration is a joyous moment for the unbaptized catechumens who have asked to be initiated into the Church at Easter. They will be called by name and declared by Bishop Malone to be the "elect" or "chosen of God."
The baptized candidates are also called by name and will be recognized by the bishop as people who desire to participate fully in the sacramental life of the Catholic Church. It is a moment when the church rejoices in the journey traveled thus far and pledges to support "elect" and candidates as they prepare during Lent to receive the Easter sacraments. Upon receiving the sacraments of confirmation and Holy Communion, these baptized persons will be fully initiated members of the Catholic Church.