SINGAPORE – The Singapore Archdiocese looks set to welcome 870 new Catholics into the church at Easter. The names of these 830 catechumens (non-Christian adults seeking baptism) and 40 candidates (adults baptized in another Christian faith but seeking full communion with the Catholic church) were presented at the Rite of Election held at Church of St. Mary of the Angels on Feb 16 and Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary on Feb 17.

These catechumens and candidates had been journeying with the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) and its youth processes in various parishes, for the last one to two years.

Their names had been enrolled into their parish’s Book of Elect in a Rite of Sending celebrated at their parishes – a rite that is symbolic of each parish testifying to the readiness of their catechumens and candidates before sending them forth towards Election. At the Rite of Election, the Books of Elect were presented to Archbishop Nicholas Chia.

"Election" refers to an understanding that God continues to choose people through the covenant of baptism, just as he established a covenant with Israel. The Rite of Election provides an opportunity for these names to be formally enrolled among God’s chosen people.

"What we understand [about Election] is that we are special, maybe we think we are above others. But that’s not what it is," Arthur Goh, the Archdiocese’s RCIA Coordinator, shares. "We understand Election as being chosen to fulfil God’s mission, to do God’s work."

Archbishop Nicholas Chia affirmed the Elect who have "responded to God’s call" and told them they have arrived at "the period of final and more intense preparations for the Sacraments of Initiation".

"Up till now, you’re known as catechumens but after today, you’ll be called Elect," he said and encouraged them to "be grateful that God has chosen you as his sons and daughters".

The Elect will be celebrating three Scrutinies over this Lenten period. They will examine their lives for temptation and the community will then pray that they be freed from these temptations and be protected as they continue their journey towards Baptism. These Rites of Scrutinies are intended to complete the conversion of the Elect and to deepen their resolve to hold fast to Christ and to carry out their decision to love God above all. -By Joyce Gan

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