A Glimpse of the Universal Church

A few months ago, I was humbled when my friend Bonny asked me to be her sponsor as she enters into full communion with the Catholic Church this Easter. I’ve had the joy of witnessing her faith, her enthusiasm, her curiosity, and her devotion to this new faith.  And this Sunday we both had the joy of celebrating the Archdiocese of Washington’s Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the RCIA process (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults), this is the step when each parish of the Archdiocese officially presents to Archbishop Donald Wuerl all those who wish to join the Church at Easter.

As each person’s name is called, they walk up the center aisle of the Basilica and into the sanctuary to gather before the Archbishop. When all the names have been called, the sanctuary is completely filled with men, women, old, young, every race, every language, every culture, from every parish in the Archdiocese. It’s a beautiful and powerful glimpse of the universal Church!

When all the people are gathered, the Archbishop asks the godparents and sponsors if the new converts have “listened to God’s word proclaimed by the Church” and have “responded to that word and begun to walk in God’s presence” to which we respond “They have!” Then the congregation shows its support in applause.

When we returned to our seats, I turned to Bonny and said “This is what we are part of!!” She gave me a huge smile, and a chill even went up my own spine!

If you ever have a chance to attend the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion, don’t pass it up! And please pray for all those who will be baptised and will enter into full communion with the Church this Easter!

One Reply to “A Glimpse of the Universal Church”

  1. Laura: I attend this event every year and I can say it is always a very joyous occasion. Obviously, to see so many people and from so many different backgrounds is already a discovery of the goodness and beauty of our Lord, that transcends language and place of origin, political parties and economic status, but this Lenten event with the archbishop is also a reminder to all Catholics, not only the priests and the RCIA coordinators and catechists, the sponsors and those working in the Christian Initiation of Adults at the parishes and Universities, of the importance of the support an example of the Christian community. There were about 1,500 people at the basilica and God only knows how many more are praying and supporting the elect and candidates at their parishes.

    Here is a quote form Archbishop Wuerl asking the assembly: “Are you ready to support the testimony expressed about these catechumens and include them in your prayer and affection as we move toward Easter?” or in other words, are you going to help them? That is the call of the Christian life, that we use our lives to help others meet Christ.

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