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Rite of Election & Call to Continuing Conversion

Those preparing to be baptized and fully enter into the life of the Catholic Church will participate in the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion during the first weekend of Lent. 

During the Rite of Election, catechumens (those who have not been baptized in any Christian faith tradition) publicly express to the local bishop their desire for baptism. 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, publicly professing their faith and their desire to come into full communion with the Catholic Church.

Click to read 2022 details for Parish RCIA Coordinators

Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion Celebrations

Saturday, March 5, 2022
Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 333 Main Street, Presque Isle
4:00 p.m. Mass (also live stream)

Sunday, March 6, 2022
St John the Baptist, 6 Monument Street, Winslow
10:30 a.m. Mass 

Sunday, March 6, 2022
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, 307 Congress Street, Portland
5 p.m. Mass (also live stream)

Who participates in the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion with the Bishop?

Catechumens are those NEVER baptized in any Christian denomination and who are discerned as ready to receive Baptism, Confirmation, and first Communion at Easter this year (use RCIA #120-122, 130-132 to guide discernment)

  • Catechumens ages 16 and over – required to participate in the Rite of Election, in-person or virtually; [at 16, someone can be a Sponsor or get married, so we consider them adults in this context]
  • Catechumens ages 8-15 – optional to attend but are always invited and welcomed to participate in the Rite of Election, especially if others in family are also being presented
  • Catechumens unable to participate in one of the regional celebrations due to Covid19 concerns or other serious reasons may still sign the Book of the Elect and be presented by the parish at a diocesan celebration

Candidates are those validly baptized in another Christian community and discerned as ready to be received into the full communion of the Catholic Church during the Easter Season (RCIA #477-480 assist in discernment). The Call to Continuing Conversion is optional for any age, though they are invited and welcomed to participate in the diocesan liturgy, in-person or virtually, along with family and friends

Presenter is a person who will present the catechumens and candidates on behalf of the parish during the liturgy, preferably someone who is NOT also a godparent or sponsor.

Family and friends may also join in the celebration along with the local parish community

What happens during this liturgy?

During the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion, 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.

The elect and candidates will then spend the season of Lent reflecting and preparing to receive the initiation sacraments.

The celebration of the sacraments of initiation will take place during the Easter Vigil on April 4 and throughout the Easter season. The catechumens receive the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and first Eucharist, while the candidates complete their initiation by making a profession of faith and receiving the Sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist by sharing in their first Holy Communion.  

How can I help support the elect and candidates after the celebration?

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.

A special 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.

Local parishes are also encouraged to host a retreat or time of reflection for the elect, candidates, sponsors/godparents, RCIA team members, during the final weeks of Lent. Parishes may also choose to participate in a live virtual Diocesan-wide RCIA Lenten Afternoon of Reflection on Palm Sunday, April 10, 2 to 4pm on Microsoft Teams. The reflection "Walking with Christ through Holy Week" is open to elect, candidates, sponsors/godparents, RCIA team members. Click for more details or to register. Registration Deadline is April 6, 2022.