Archbishop Goh holding up the Book of Elect at St Joseph Church (Bukit Timah).Archbishop Goh holding up the Book of Elect at St Joseph Church (Bukit Timah)Archbishop Goh urges candidates and catechumens to continue their faith journey after baptism. Darren Boon reports.
 
Joy, excitement and a sense of anticipation at their upcoming baptism.

These were the feelings that some people, preparing to become Catholics this Easter, shared following their recent Rite of Election.

Ms Ng Hui Yin, from the Church of Christ the King, said she looks forward to her life being transformed. She said she intends to “be very prayerful” and engage in serious reflection during this Lenten season.

Ms Ng was speaking to CatholicNews at St Joseph Church (Bukit Timah) after the Rite of Election held on March 8 for the North and West districts and for Novena Church.

Another Rite of Election was held on March 9 for the City, East and Serangoon districts. The Mandarin Rite of Election is scheduled for March 16 at the Church of St Francis of Assisi. Catechumens writing their names in the Book of Elect.Catechumens writing their names in the Book of Elect.

A total of 1,217 people are set to join the Catholic Church  this Easter. A total of 1,118 catechumens (non-Christians seeking baptism) are expected to be enrolled in the Book of Elect.

This year, the catechumens came up in groups to enrol their names in the book, which was in the form of a long scroll, as each person’s godparent placed a hand on his or her shoulder.

Ninety-nine candidates (baptised Christians seeking full communion with the Catholic Church) also joined in the service and participated in a rite called the Call to Continuing Conversion.

The candidates and catechumens have been preparing for a year or more to receive or complete the Sacraments of Initiation since joining the various parishes’ RCIA or RCIY (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults/Youths) programmes.

Mr Llyod Lim described his enrolment as a “sacred moment”. He said that it helped him feel connected to the Church community and a “step closer to our Lord”.

Daphne Chua, from the RCIY programme at the Church of St Anthony, said the enrolment made her feel “very accepted” in the Church.

Addressing the catechumens and candidates in his homily, Archbishop Goh told them that as God has chosen them, their task now is to “follow the way of Jesus” and to depend on Him.

He explained that this means to “have a relationship” with Him and to have a prayer life based on the Word of God. He recommended that they spend at least half an hour in prayer each day.

Archbishop Goh also assured the catechumens and candidates of the love of the Catholic community, and encouraged them to carry on their ongoing faith journey after baptism.

He urged them to be active members of the Church community through participation in ministries and Church groups, otherwise they could lose their faith.

“A Catholic who is alone, without brothers and sisters…he will not last,” Archbishop Goh said.

The Rite of 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 provides an opportunity for their names to be formally enrolled among God’s chosen people.

The Elect will now undergo the rite of Scrutinies during the Lenten season to help them examine their lives. The community will also pray that the Elect be freed from temptations and be protected as they continue their journey towards baptism.

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