The 3rd Stage
is called the Period of Purification and Enlightenment
and it begins with the Rite of Election,
which takes place in the Cathedral of the Diocese, usually at the beginning of Lent.
Leading into this Rite of Election each catechumen will be offered opportunity, together with their sponsors and RCIA team, to make a discernment of their readiness to receive the Sacraments of initiation. At this point the catechumens are deemed to have sufficient formation to be permitted to proceed to the Easter Sacraments.
You will then be sent by the parish to St Patrick's Cathedral in Melbourne, and to the Archbishop for his blessing. Your names will be inscribed in the Book of the Elect. From that day on, you will no longer be called catechumens but will be known as the 'elect' - those called and chosen by God himself to share in the life of the Church, through the sacraments as initiation into His life.
The 40 days of Lent become a period of intense spiritual preparation, not solely for the catechumens. The whole parish community joins you in prayer on the Sundays of Lent as you reflect most deeply on human life, the world and God's wonderful love for us all.
The final step in this period takes place at the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday night (the night before Easter).
On this night of nights we celebrate:
- for the catechumens (those not yet baptised) - all three of the Sacraments of Initiation - Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist.
- for the candidates (those baptised in another Christian faith) - a profession of Catholic Faith and the reception of Confirmation and Eucharist;
- and for baptised Catholics - the reception of Confirmation and Eucharist.
This is the major feast of the Church's year. It is usually celebrated in the dark and focuses on the Paschal Candle, which represents Jesus, the light of the world.
This is the night our Alleluia rings out loud and joyfully. It is a night of memories and a night of hope. It is the night we remember the whole story of our salvation. As you are brought into full communion with the Catholic Faith, we pray it will become for you too a night of of extraordinary memories, and a night filled with anticipation and hope.