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Pastor’s Corner 2.25.2024

Baptismal Identity

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

The season of Lent is an important time for all the members of the Church to examine their lives and commitment to living their baptismal identity with renewed vigor. But for some people, the Catechumens, Lent has a particularly intense character. Catechumens are those In the Order of Christian Initiation of Adults (R.C.I.A.) who are preparing to be baptized. Lent is called the period of purification and enlightenment. It represents the weeks before baptism when the catechumens intensely prepare to renounce evil in their lives and to profess their faith in the Triune God. On the day they are baptized they will commit to live as a disciple of the Lord Jesus and to let everything they do be informed by the truths of the Gospel.

Each Lent, usually on the First Sunday of Lent, hundreds of men and women gather with their pastors or R.C.I.A. leaders and join the Archbishop for the Rite of Election. The Rite of Election is a liturgical celebration that recognizes the Church’s decision, based on the recommendation of sponsors and pastors, to enroll each Catechumen in the Book of the Elect. By identifying them as a member of the “Elect,” the Church is acknowledging that the person is ready to proceed on to receive the Sacraments of Initiation: baptism, confirmation and Holy Eucharist. Those already baptized, but planning to join the Church at Easter formally also attend the rite and answer a “call to continuing conversion” in these weeks of Lent. Twelve individuals in R.C.I.A. here at Ascension participated in that Rite of Election last weekend.

Lent invites all of us who are already baptized and members of the Catholic Church to imitate the catechumens and candidates in R.C.I.A. by reflecting deeply on our relationship with God and what He might be calling us to as His beloved sons and daughters. We are also encouraged during Lent to focus on strengthening our own commitment to our baptismal identity as disciples of Christ and members of His Church.

Please pray for our Catechumens preparing for baptism and for our Candidates seeking reception into full communion with the Church. May they and we, grow deeper in our knowledge and love of God this Lent and may that deepened connection with God help us to live lives that reflect ever-more closely our identity as children of God.

Sincerely yours in Christ Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life,