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​A joyful and fulfilling celebration after a time of hardship

March 25, 2021 | posted by Today's Catholic

Topics: Archbishop, In the Press, Breaking News

A joyful and fulfilling celebration after a time of hardship

At the end of what was an unprecedented, challenging week for everyone in Texas, catechumens and candidates were welcomed at Rite of Elections and Call to Continuing Conversion gatherings which began the weekend of February 20-21 and followed the next week on February 27-28.

At the end of a period which began with snow and freezing temperature and concluded with beautiful weather and sunshine, Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS, and Auxiliary Bishop Michael Boulette presided at a dozen gatherings over those four days.

Before the Rite of Election, catechumens and candidates have:

  • undergone a conversion in mind and action (can continue to develop).
  • developed a sufficient (not exhaustive) acquaintance with Christian teaching.
  • have a spirit of faith and charity (can be ongoing).
  • The parish community should also “surround [the catechumens and candidates] with prayer, so that the entire Church will accompany and lead them to encounter Christ [at the Easter Vigil],” states RCIA 121.

    In his comments during the first Sunday of Lent, Archbishop Gustavo explained how the Word of God makes a very deep impact upon us.

    “God has ‘elected,’ that is, chosen the human person for salvation in Christ Jesus, our Lord, the redeemer of our humanity! Through the blood of His cross our sins are washed away! Through His resurrection He renews all creation -- including us in our mortality, giving us the gift of eternal life! He sends us the Holy Spirit to help us while we are yet still in the world of sin, so that we might live as His new creation!”

    The archbishop told the elect, “My friends, God has chosen you, ‘elected’ you, because you are made in His image. He is the parent who loves His child! He is the Father attending to the wounds of your soul! He is the groom rejoicing at the sight of His bride!”

    He continued, “And this ‘election’ is made manifest as the Church officially welcomes you as members of her body. This membership will be sealed in the waters of baptism, the oil of chrism in confirmation, and sharing in Holy Communion in the Eucharistic Sacrifice at the Vigil of Our Lord’s Resurrection on Holy Saturday night! In these sacraments you will be ‘marked for Christ’ with an indelible mark -- deeper than any superficial tattoo upon your skin, because it is the marking of your heart and soul for the Lord!”

    But, Archbishop Gustavo acknowledged, becoming a new creation in Christ means living in a new way. “We must not be ashamed to call upon the help and strength of the divine assistance by submitting ourselves to Christ for forgiveness and renewal,” he said. “As St. Peter admonishes us, we should ‘cast our cares upon Him, because He cares for us.’”

    The San Antonio prelate emphasized that he was honored to welcome the “elect” of God. “In the name of the Church I am honored to welcome you and enroll you! And, I ask you to remember from this point forward, as our Holy Father, Pope Francis has said, that you are not merely disciples of Jesus, rather, you are missionary disciples from this day forward!” he exclaimed. “You have received the Good News! Now you must share it with others!”

    Rite of Election ceremonies were held February 20 at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Selma, St. Jerome Church, San Fernando Cathedral, and St. Anthony Mary Claret Church. The following day, February 21, ceremonies were held at St. Gregory the Great Church, St. Lawrence the Martyr Church, St. Rose of Lima Church, and again at San Fernando Cathedral.

    The next week, gatherings took place at St. Mark the Evangelist Church and Sacred Heart Church in Uvalde on February 27, and on February 28 at St. John Neumann Church and again at St. Rose of Lima Church.