PORTLAND---Catechumens and candidates will participate in the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion in Caribou, Waterville, and Portland on February 17-18, the first weekend of Lent. Bishop Robert P. Deeley will celebrate all three Masses.
During the Rite of Election, catechumens (those who have not been baptized in any Christian faith tradition) publicly express their desire for baptism to the bishop. Their names are recorded in the Book of the Elect, a designation which reflects that the bishop, in the name of the Lord and the local Church, is choosing or electing them to share in the Easter sacraments. Candidates (those who were baptized in another Christian faith tradition) celebrate the Call to Continuing Conversion by professing their faith in and coming into full communion with the Catholic Church.
At the Masses, parishes present the catechumens and the candidates to the bishop and the congregation. The catechumens and candidates affirm their desire to enter fully into the life of Christ through the Catholic Church. Godparents and sponsors are then asked by the bishop to affirm that the catechumens and candidates are sufficiently prepared to continue their journeys of faith. The congregation, along with the godparents and sponsors, follow this testimony by pledging their support and prayers for those in preparation.
Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion Celebrations
Saturday, February 17
Holy Rosary Church, 34 Vaughn Street, Caribou
4 p.m. Mass
Sunday, February 18
Notre Dame Church, 116 Silver Street, Waterville
10:30 a.m. Mass
Sunday, February 18
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, 307 Congress Street, Portland
5 p.m. Mass
After the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion, the catechumens and candidates will spend the season of Lent reflecting and preparing to be welcomed into the Church at Easter. The days of Lent are the final period of purification and enlightenment for catechumens and candidates, marked by prayer and study, and spiritual guidance from the priests and parish teams with whom they work.
The Celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation takes place during the Easter Vigil, held on Holy Saturday (March 31). The catechumens receive the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and the Holy Eucharist, while the candidates complete their initiation by receiving the sacraments of Confirmation and the Holy Eucharist.
A special Lent section has been created on the Diocese of Portland’s website featuring resources to assist Catholics during their Lenten journey, including Mass times, special event listings, a Lenten calendar, faith formation and Scripture reflections, retreat information, ways to share their gifts, and Lenten messages from Pope Francis.