"My dear elect, you have set out with us on the road that leads to the glory of Easter. Christ will be your way, your truth, and your life. Until we meet again for the scrutinies, walk always in his peace." The Dismissal prayer for the elect captures in a wonderful way what Lent is all about for each of us and amazingly for us as a parish family. This year we will welcome seven new members to our parish family! Not since Fr. August was here have so many chosen to join us at the Eucharist! Each is a wonderful person and an inspiring story of God's providence and grace! On the first Sunday of Lent it is customary for Catechumens and Candidates to travel to the Cathedral and to be presented to the Bishop for "election" to receive the rites of initiation. What a powerful ceremony it is! Bishop Etienne represents 2011 years of continuity with Jesus Christ and the Apostolic Church that Jesus founded. Thus when one stands in his presence the office of Bishop so clearly manifests just how true our faith is! The bishop is the principle priest, teacher, and governor of the Diocese. That is why those who are seeking to enter the Church, after careful preparation and formation at their parishes, are presented to the bishop. He guarantees that they will receive the saving graces intended by Jesus and won for us by His suffering, death, and resurrection. Graces that are uniquely given through the seven sacraments. So we as a parish rejoice with: Cipriano Vega, Delaney Campbell, Nyah Campbell, Wade Newton, and Chase Anderson. These five will be baptized at the Easter Vigil just 5 weeks from now! Kristi Vigil and Kaeli Campbell will also enter into full union with the Church. They are called Candidates since each has already been baptized. Kristi will be confirmed and receive the Eucharist for the first time; Kaeli will make a profession of Faith and receive full communion with the Catholic Church then be confirmed and receive the Eucharist.
What a wonderful group of people! I am truly inspired and amazed at the good work that God has begun in each of these Elect and Candidates and also in each of us! In a real way each of us will be different when we renew our baptismal vows this Easter. How this will happen is up to us: our penance, prayers, fasting, and almsgiving are meant to dispose us to the great grace of Easter! Let us rejoice and encourage each other as we continue the great pilgrimage of Lent!