Arlington Rite of Election 2018 1440x420

RCIA: Rite of Election and of the Call to Continuing Conversion

For adults who have not been baptized, who have heard the mystery of Christ proclaimed, and who have consciously and freely entered into the way of faith and conversion, the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is the center of their preparation for Christian Initiation and the celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation themselves. Similarly, for adults who have been baptized but have not yet been received into full communion in the Catholic Church, RCIA is also the center of their preparation for and celebration of Confirmation and Eucharist.

For adults preparing to receive the Sacraments of Initiation, an especially intense period of preparation, called the Period of Purification and Enlightenment, precedes the celebration of the Sacraments. This period normally corresponds with the Season of Lent, and those preparing enter into this period through special liturgical celebrations.

Catechumens—that is, those preparing for Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist—enter into the Period of Purification and Enlightenment with the Rite of Election. This rite is given the name “election” because “the acceptance made by the Church is founded on the election by God, in whose name the Church acts” (RCIA, no. 119). Acting in God’s name, in the Rite of Election “the Church makes its ‘election,’ that is, the choice and admission of those catechumens who have the dispositions that make them fit to take part… in the Sacraments of Initiation” (no. 119).

Candidates—that is, those preparing for full reception into the Catholic Church and those preparing to receive Confirmation—enter into the period of intense preparation with the Rite of Calling the Candidates to Continuing Conversion. Here, the Church recognizes the desire of the Candidates to be sealed with the Holy Spirit and take their place at Christ’s eucharistic table, and the Church prays that God will continue to show them His mercy and love so that they may conform their lives to Christ’s (cf. nos. 454, 456).

Resources for Pastors and Parish Staffs

Each year at the beginning of Lent the Bishop of Arlington celebrates the Rite of Election and of the Call to Continuing Conversion. Updates, including locations and times, are published annually.