On the Feast of St Patrick over 1,200 people gathered at St Patrick’s Cathedral on an autumnal Sunday afternoon for the annual Rite of Election. It is at this Rite that those who are preparing for the Easter sacraments—accompanied by parish RCIA team members, fellow parishioners, family, sponsors and godparents—are presented to the Archbishop and the wider Catholic community.
Coming from over 60 parishes across the Archdiocese of Melbourne, there were 178 catechumens (those who are preparing for the sacraments of baptism, confirmation and Eucharist) and 57 candidates (those who have been baptised—in the Catholic Church or in other Christian traditions—but have not yet come to the sacraments of confirmation and Eucharist and wish to be received into full communion with the Catholic Church).
Archbishop Peter A. Comensoli was the Principal Celebrant and he was joined by the Vicar General, Monsignor Greg Bennet and the Dean of the Cathedral, the Very Reverend Werner Utri.
After listening to the Word of God in a simple but moving ceremony, the catechumens and the Candidates were called forward to join the Archbishop on the sanctuary, where he asked them to make public their commitment to journey towards the sacraments at Easter. In doing so, he also sought the commitment of their godparents, sponsors and the wider community gathered to support these people on their journey of faith.
The Archbishop expressed his delight as he welcomed the catechumens and candidates to join him on the sanctuary. As the final catechumens made their way up the Archbishop joked, ‘I think this is the first time I’ve been forced off the sanctuary. Isn’t it a wonderful occasion to do so?’
The afternoon was truly a celebration of the local Church of Melbourne as people of all ages, from different nationalities and backgrounds, and different parts of the archdiocese boldly took the next step in their journey of faith which will result in the reception of the Easter sacraments at the Easter Vigil.