Catholic Diocese of Richmond

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Diocese of Richmond Welcomes Hundreds into the Catholic Church

March 28, 2024

The Catholic Diocese of Richmond will welcome more than 500 people into the Church this Saturday, March 30, 2024, at Easter Vigil Masses in parishes throughout the diocese. In February, Bishop Barry C. Knestout welcomed approximately 540 people, now called the Elect, at the Rite of Election liturgies celebrated throughout the Diocese of Richmond. The Elect will receive the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and Eucharist at the Easter Vigil Mass on March 30.

Rite of Election liturgy for the Central Vicariate, celebrated at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart. Photo courtesy of Michael Mickle Photography

Due to the size of the diocese, three liturgies were held the first weekend of Lent and took place in the Central, Eastern, and Western Vicarates, to ensure all had the opportunity to attend. Each liturgy was well attended by catechumens, godparents, and members of their parishes to support them in their journey to the Easter Sacraments.

First called catechumens, most of the Elect began their journey in the fall through the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA), learning about the Catholic faith and deepening their relationship with Jesus.

At the Easter Vigil Mass, the Elect will receive the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and the Eucharist and are anointed with the sacred chrism, which is consecrated earlier in Holy Week at the Chrism Mass. After receiving their sacraments, the Elect are then fully received into the Catholic Church.

Rite of Election

The Rite of Election is celebrated each year, typically on the first weekend of Lent. During the liturgy, the Church welcomes those who have expressed interest in joining the Catholic Church as adults. At the liturgy, the catechumens, those seeking the Easter Sacraments at the Easter Vigil, gather with their godparents and families to publicly express a desire to be fully initiated into the Catholic Church. Their names are recorded in a book signed by the bishop, and they are then referred to as the Elect.