On the first Sunday of Lent, all around the world Roman Catholics and those seeking to become Catholic celebrated the Rite of Sending and the Rite of Election. Catechumens (unbaptized) and Candidates (baptized but not yet Confirmed in the Catholic Church) along with their Godparents and/or Sponsors all started the day with mass at their own parish church. For Catholics in Durham, Killingworth and Middlefield the weather and day could not have been better for the long drive after morning mass.
The parish priests gave the Catechumens and Candidates a special blessing, and then dismissed them with the Rite of Sending. This ‘sending’ had those from Notre Dame Parish in Durham, St. Colman’s Parish in Middlefield and St. Lawrence Parish in Killingworth all headed to Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in Norwich, Connecticut along with their RCIA teams (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults teachers), Godparents, Sponsors and families as witnesses to this special event.
Once at the Cathedral, everyone enjoyed the Liturgy of the Word said in both English and Spanish after the Catechumens signed their names into the “Book of the Elect”. Then Bishop Michael Cote heard the name of every single Catechumen and Candidate being read as they one by one stood before the congregation and made their intentions to become Roman Catholic known to all.
The Bishop asked all the Catechumens if they wished to fully enter the life of the Catholic Church through the Sacraments to which they all respond “we do” and then the Bishop announced them to be part of “the elect” to be ‘initiated into the sacred mysteries at the next Easter Vigil’ (this is when they will be baptized). He reminded them that it is their duty as well as the duty of every Catholic to strive for truth in their Catholic lives.
The Candidates are already part of the elect by their baptism, so they were recognized for their ‘desire to be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit’ with the Sacrament of Confirmation to take place at the next Easter Vigil Mass (April 23, 2011).
After some prayers and the hymn “Joyful, Joyful” Bishop Cote blessed the enter congregation, welcomed all into the Church and invited everyone to refreshments and a “meet and greet” directly following the service. Smiling faces and hugs abound as everyone celebrated this special event on a beautiful March day.