On Sunday, February 18, nearly 100 catechumens from various parishes and missions in the Archdiocese - all adults preparing for Baptism - gathered with the Archbishop for the celebration of the Rite of Election.

The catechumens were surrounded by those accompanying them, their catechists, the pastors from their respective communities and their godparents. As is the custom during this event, Most Reverend Lépine asked the godparents if the catechumens they were there to support were truly ready to receive the Sacraments of Christian Initiation. Then, the catechumens were called by name one at a time and stood before the Archbishop, who questioned them in turn about their desire to be baptized. After having officially declared them as "elected" by God to be initiated to the mysteries of the Christian faith, he gave them his blessing by giving each one of them a violet sash, a distinctive symbol of their election toward the sacraments.

The catechumens signed the Book of the Elect, which Most Rev. Lépine then handed to a Carmelite nun. Throughout Lent, the Carmelite nuns in Montreal will pray for the catechumens from our archdiocese. The catechumens will receive the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist at the Easter Vigil in their respective parishes and missions.

The Rite of Election is a defining moment for the catechumens, as each of them is personally welcomed by Archbishop Christian Lépine. This meeting with the Archbishop is an unforgettable moment for most of them. They are also moved by the idea that a community of contemplative nuns will pray for each and every one of them every day until the Easter Vigil. In this way, the Rite of Election qualifies as one of the diocesan events where the catechumens are truly made to feel as part of one big family, the Universal Church!  

As this celebration is held yearly at the Cathedral on the first Sunday of Lent, we invite you to mark it in your agenda for all the years to come. Welcoming adults who are preparing for Baptism is a joyful event for all of God's people!

Roger Belliveau is prepared by Saint Patrick Basilica's pastoral team, in particular Charles Taker.