Rite of Election
Rite of Election
By the Most Rev Bishop Don Sproxton
Auxiliary Bishop of Perth
St Mary’s Cathedral, Perth
Thursday 5 March, 2020
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While I was parish priest in Mirrabooka, I had the delight of participating in the RCIA process. The delight was two-fold. Firstly, it was in meeting so many people who had been searching for God and who had found him in the parish, through the love and care of the community of faith.
The second delight came from hearing their journey towards God. You might think “doing” the process of the Catechumenate year after year would be the same and repetitive. This is not true. Year by year, I would hear new stories from people’s lives. These were real experiences. I realised that God acts in new ways in each person’s life and in every stage of life.
This reflection turned in on me and my own growing in faith. I learnt how to see God at work in my life, even in the normal round of events that form a parish priest’s annual calendar. Often, there would be something new that I had not expected or had not seen before. This has been confirmed for me in the conversations that I have had with more spiritually attuned people than I, and those who shared their stories with me as we walked together through the Catechumenate process.
Our liturgy this evening has two foci: the Word of God, and the Rite of Election for those who are to be called to Baptism, as well as the Recognition of those who will complete their initiation into the Catholic Church.
The reading from the prophet Isaiah (Is 43:1-13) presented the plan of God for each person, beginning with our creation by his hand, done from the deepest of love. The prophet realised that we are created in the image and likeness of God. Added to this, he understood the significance of our names. The names that we have indicate that we are unique and unrepeatable.
The experience of our families shows very clearly that there are no repeats of human persons. No matter that we have one set of biological parents, we and our siblings are very different from one another, especially in our temperaments and characters.
Our names clearly differentiate us. We are unique. God knows us by our name. God loves each of us by name. God chooses to deal with each of us personally in an ongoing way throughout our lives. This is why the stories of our journeys of faith are so special and inspiring. It is through the hearing of those stories that we come to know and love God at work within us.
The Rite of Election brings many of you here this evening to the last stage of the process towards Baptism and full initiation into the Church. There are a few beautiful moments ahead before you arrive at the Easter Vigil. Among these will be the rites when you will be presented and entrusted with the Apostolic Creed and the great prayer of Jesus, the Our Father.
We rejoice with you and we pray earnestly for you as you come near to the great celebration of the victory of Christ over sin and death in the Easter Vigil. We are your brothers and sisters in the Faith. May we grow in faith together.