Catechumens gather at the front of the cathedral for the Rite of the Election Feb. 14. Pilot photo/Mark Labbe
SOUTH END -- Marking one of their final steps towards entering the Church at Easter, 556 candidates and catechumens gathered at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Feb. 14, for the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion.
Catechumens, those who have never been baptized, participated in the Rite of Election, while candidates, those who are Christian but not Catholic, participated in the Call to Continuing Conversion.
To accommodate the large number of candidates and catechumens, two ceremonies, divided by regions, were held at the cathedral. Those from the Central and Merrimack Regions attended the first ceremony at 1:30 p.m., while those from the West, North and South Regions attended a 4 p.m. ceremony.
In his homily, Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley recalled that last year's ceremony was cancelled due to the record-breaking February snowfall, and gave a welcome to this year's candidates and catechumens.
"Today, it is a very special joy to be able to say welcome to our new brothers and sisters in the Catholic Church... There are about 150,000 of you who are participating in the Rite of Election today in our country," he said.
During the ceremonies, catechumens affirmed their desire to receive the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and the Eucharist; while the candidates expressed their desire to complete their Christian initiation and be received into full communion with the Catholic Church.