By Brittany Wilson | Diocesan Social Media Coordinator
“You are now the ‘elect’ and this is your ‘election,’” Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., told the 180 catechumens from all four counties of the Diocese who gathered on Feb. 14, the first Sunday of Lent, in St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton, for the Rite of Election. “That is who you are and why you are here and that is the reason you have brought godparents and sponsors with you. Together, we are the Catholic Church — the community of the Catholic faith — in its present and future reality.”
The Rite of Election marks a milestone in the faith journey for those men, women and teenagers participating in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, or the RCIA. At the Rite of Election, catechumens publicly announced their intention to become a fully initiated member of the Catholic Church and their bishop declares them ‘Elect of God.’ They will receive the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist) at the Easter Vigil celebrated in their parishes on March 26.
After the Rite of Election, the Trenton Monitor and Diocese of Trenton Facebook pages featured photo galleries, videos and more to highlight the occasion.
And Bishop O’Connell wasn’t the only one to welcome the catechumens. Many of the faithful who follow the Diocese’s Facebook pages left comments and well wishes similar to the following as a way to welcome the soon-to-be fully-initiated Catholics into the Church:
Dorothy Macchia: Welcome to the Catholic Church all.
Catherine Chiusano Creen: Welcome, God Bless you all!
On Feb. 9, the Trenton Monitor Facebook page shared the following about the decision to close the Stella Maris Retreat Center: “After serving the spiritual needs of generations of people, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace have had to shutter their jewel of a retreat house in Long Branch. Still, they are working hard to ensure that the property will be preserved and not be used for high occupancy construction projects. … If you have been on retreat at Stella Maris, let us know how it has impacted your faith life ... and give a shout-out to the sisters who have given us so much!
The post (and a similar one later) received more than 30 likes a few comments from faithful around the Diocese, including one especially poignant one from recently-ordained Father Jim Grogan, parochial vicar of Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish, Moorestown.
Father Grogan wrote: I have made multiple retreats at Stella Maris. The first was my Engaged Encounter retreat in 1982, prior to my marriage. My next time back was in 2013, when I went on the retreat with the seminarians of the Diocese of Trenton. Two curious points of reference, to be sure, but the retreat house will always be special in conjunction with two special milestones.
Brittany Wilson is the Diocese of Trenton’s social media coordinator. She can be reached at [email protected]. [[In-content Ad]]