On Sunday I had the privilege of being part of the Rite of Sending, the Rite of Election, and the Call to Conversion which were celebrated first at Saint Clement Church where my friend is in formation to become a Catholic and later in the day at Holy Name Cathedral, the home parish of all of us Chicagolanders.

In the course of the celebrations, I had an opportunity to mingle and talk with the newly Elect (formerly “catechumens”, people being baptized for the first time) and the Candidates (person coming from another Christian tradition or renewing their own Catholic faith). I was so moved by their commitment and their palpable joy in this moment and in their journey toward full communion with the Catholic Church. They are a fantastic group of women and men, with a most excellent good shepherd in their primary catechist, Christina Bax, Pastoral Associate and Director of Evangelization at Saint Clement.

Cardinal George presided at The Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion and gave a scripturally robust homily that was so encouraging to those gathered. And I was struck once again by these words of the Rite which the Cardinal proclaimed with such solemnity: “Christ’s body, the Church, recognizes your desire.”

Here’s some photos from the celebration. As we enter into the Lenten journey toward Easter, let us pray that with the Elect and the Candidates, we too might hear God’s call to conversion, “strive courageously to reach the fullness of truth,” and faithfully live our baptism.

Holy Name Cathedral

Holy Name Cathedral

Francis Cardinal George

Francis Cardinal George

Christina Bax holds high the Book of the Elect

Christina Bax holds high the Book of the Elect

The Cardinal with The Elect and The Candidates

The Cardinal with The Elect and The Candidates