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Future Catholics one step closer to the sacraments

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This story has been updated.

Future Catholics stood beside their sponsors and expressed their desire to enter the church at Easter during the Rite of Election and of the Call to Continuing Conversion. To accommodate the 285 catechumens — unbaptized future Catholics — and 277 candidates — baptized Christians awaiting confirmation — two ceremonies were held, one at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington March 10 and the other at St. Theresa Church in Ashburn March 17.

For more photos from the March 10 Rite of Election at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More (below) go to catholicherald.smugmug.com.

Bishop Michael F. Burbidge said in his homily at both Masses that each person has a unique story of how God called them to the church. “The one thing you have in common is that all of you are here today as part of God's divine plan,” he said. “It is the Lord who has chosen you. It is the Lord who calls you by name. It is the Lord who has led you to this moment in your faith life, and with God’s grace and the support and love of your spouse and parents and family members and parishioners and friends, you have said ‘yes’ to that call.”

Ginger Grimard, 78, decided to become Catholic after moving in with her Catholic son and daughter-in-law and seeing their faith. Jacob French of Holy Trinity Church in Gainesville was attracted to the consistency of the Catholic tradition. 

 “Something about the Catholic Church spoke to me and gave me answers I was not getting before,” said Meredith Palumbo of St. John the Beloved Church in McLean. “It’s really making me think about life. I have a totally different perspective on how I want to live. It’s given me such light and peace.”

For more photos from the March 17 Rite of Election at St. Theresa Church go to catholicherald.smugmug.com.

Julia Reed is the last of her family to come into the church. “My mom this last year had a brain abscess and she was in the process of becoming Catholic. Doctors didn’t think she'd make it, but it was a true miracle that she’s actually alive. Probably the biggest inspiration was her.”

James Starke, director of the Office of Divine Worship, said this is the rite that propels the catechumens and candidates forward into immediate preparations for Lent.

“My hope for them is to be inspired to take seriously that call to further conversion for those who have already been baptized, for further discernment and encounter for those who have not yet been baptized,” he said. 

“(They can) really use this as a springboard to renew the commitment they already are making and delve deeper into that commitment for the immediate 40 days,” he said. “These 40 days can be intense if done correctly, so hopefully this can be done with the grace and inspiration needed to encounter this time as a time of conversion and formation.”

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019

@eelliottACH