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Rite of Election held at St. Mary Cathedral
On Sunday, March 1, the First Sunday of Lent, fifty-four people from twenty-four parishes were formally welcomed as catechumens at the Rite of Election held at St. Mary Cathedral in Gaylord. Due to illness, Bishop Patrick R. Cooney was unable to attend the ceremony and delegated Fr. John McCracken, Rector of St. Mary Cathedral, to preside in his absence. Early in Church history, God chose a people and established a covenant with them. Today, God continues to choose his people through the covenant of Baptism. During the Easter Vigil, those now named the elect will celebrate the Sacraments of Initiation in their home parishes. During the homily, Fr. McCracken quoted from Bishop Patrick J. McGrath of the Diocese of San Jose telling the cathechumens, Today you begin your final test a test that goes deeper than knowledge of discipline. It will be a test of surrender and mission: a test of faith in the face of death, a test of hope when all seems lost, a test of love when all you receive is rejection. This test of surrender and mission will be difficult, but you will not be alone. When you put your name on the line, when you put your life on the line, you will not be alone. You are already members of this community, and you will soon be members of the Body of Christ, never to face trial and temptation alone again. During the Rite of Election, sponsors and godparents publicly affirmed that the candidates are prepared to be admitted to the sacraments of Christian initiation and the assembly pledged to continue to support them in faith, prayer and example. The catechumens also affirmed their desire to fully enter into the life of the Church through the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist. As each catechumens name was called, they gathered with their sponsors and godparents in the sanctuary of the Cathedral to be blessed by Fr. McCracken. Each name is also recorded in the specific parishs Book of the Elect which was also signed by Fr. McCracken after the blessing. The Elect now enter into the Period of Purification and Enlightenment as they continue to prepare for full initiation into the Roman Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil. A reception for the more than 300 in attendance was held prior to the beginning of the ceremony.