Rites of Sending & Election
Across the entire world, Catholic bishops on this first Sunday of Lent welcome those catechumens sent by the parish to gather together with their godparents and sponsors in what is known as the Rite of Election. The Rite of Sending, ordinarily held earlier on the same day, offers the parish community an opportunity to acknowledge the spiritual progress the catechumens have made, express approval of their election or recognition, and send them forth to our bishop with assurance of the parish’s care and support.
To send a catechumen to the bishop means that a parish has discerned that the person is ready to enter the Catholic Church. In Sacred Scripture, the Book of Revelation makes reference to a “Book of Life” in which are written the names of those who have chosen to follow the Lord Jesus and be baptized. Those who are already baptized, as Catholics or in other denominations, had our names written in the Book of Life at our Baptism. In the Rite of Sending, those preparing for Baptism are invited to come forward and sign a book, which we call the “Book of the Elect, as a sign of their desire to be numbered among the chosen of God. The Book of the Elect is then presented to the bishop at the Rite of Election.