Rite of Election: 90 new brothers and sisters in Church family
By Steve Euvino
Northwest Indiana Catholic
GARY – For Joe Moore, the Rite of Election at Holy Angels Cathedral was a “huge blessing.” Joining an estimated 90 persons who will fully enter the Church at the Easter Vigil, Moore said becoming Catholic marks “the beginning of a new change in my life, a new understanding.”
A member of St. John the Evangelist in St. John, Moore and his wife Donielle are expecting their third child. The catechumen said his wife and family members have been a big help in preparing him for receiving the sacraments of initiation – baptism, confirmation, and Eucharist.
“Today was awesome,” Moore said of the rite at the cathedral on Feb. 22. “This has been a long time coming, so I’m really excited.”
Addressing the congregation on the first Sunday of Lent, Bishop Donald J. Hying prayed that “these days of Lent be an inspiration and time of grace.”
Saying the presence of the catechumens “stirs our hearts, moves our spirits,” Bishop Hying likened those entering the Church to the joy of a new baby, like “90 new brothers and sisters in the local family. We give thanks and praise to God.”
Although each person has a unique story of her/his spiritual journey, Bishop Hying said, “everyone felt a lack in their life without Jesus Christ. Something was missing that gives us meaning and purpose for life.”
Without the Lord, Bishop Hying said, life is nothing but a “meaningless collision of events.” With Christ, the bishop said, “we celebrate the grace of God that has brought us to this point.”
Crystal Scott, a catechumen from Queen of All Saints in Michigan City, said becoming fully Catholic means “being complete, fully whole.” Although she was raised Catholic, she learned seven years ago that she had never received the sacraments. “It felt like something went overlooked. It felt wrong,” she said.
Going through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, Scott said, has been “very enlightening. We learn so much and you can never learn everything.”
Lauren Haddox, who has been going through RCIA at Nativity of Our Savior in Portage, will be baptized with her two children, Sophina, 2, and Levi, 1. “I wanted something like my children have,” said Haddox, who will enter the Church at St. Francis Xavier in Lake Station. “I want my children to grow up in church.”
Gladys Acevedo, Haddox’ sponsor, said cradle Catholics can take aspects of their faith for granted. “What an experience this has been, watching her and other catechumens go through this,” Acevedo said.
Following the homily, Bishop Hying examined catechumens for their readiness for initiation at Easter and also asked the assembly about their readiness to help these catechumens.
Bishop Hying addressed those gathered as to their intentions, after which the catechumens and their sponsors approached the bishop to offer their name in enrollment. Sponsors laid a hand on their catechumen’s shoulder, pledging their support, after which the bishop declared the catechumens the elect.
The sacraments of initiation, Bishop Hying explained, “allow us to enter into the fullness of God, and he enters into us. We become one with God.”
By joining the Church, Bishop Hying said, the faithful are called to mission. That means “living our life in such a way that others will be magnetized and drawn to Christ. They’ll see our conviction and say, ‘I want some, because it’s good.’”
Karly Wauro, 16, a high school junior, witnessed that conviction at last year’s Catholic Youth Xperience as a member of Holy Spirit in Winfield. “I was searching for something, and there was a mix of everything at CYX,” said Wauro, who will enter the Church with brothers Kyle, 14, and Conner, 11.
“I’m very happy about their decision,” said Steve Wauro, their father. “It’s very important for their faith and any decisions down the road.”
Lauren McConnell, 15, a freshman at Marquette Catholic High School in Michigan City, will enter the Church at Nativity of Our Savior. “It’s been nice going to church with my friends. It gets me closer to God,” McConnell said. “It helps me relax more when I have time with God.”
Bishop Hying reminded the congregation that the day’s rite is not an ending but a “glorious beginning of new life, as they strive to make a difference into the world.
“People will be drawn to you. They will sense the Christ in you,” Bishop Hying said. “We rejoice with you today.”