Enrolled among the elect, with parish support

The approach of Easter in just under a month will be a time of celebration for Catholics all around the globe, rejoicing in Jesus’ resurrection and victory over death.

For 157 youth and adults — including five men who are incarcerated — and their family and friends, in South Jersey, the last weekend in March/first weekend of April will be a little sweeter, as these men and women prepare to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church on the Easter Vigil.

Kristen Ahern from Haddon Heights’ Saint Rose of Lime Parish stands in front of Bishop Dennis Sullivan with Betty Wells, the parish’s RCIA secretary. Wells is presenting to Bishop the Book of Elect, signifying Ahern’s desire to enter the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil. Photo by James A. McBride

On Sunday, Feb. 18, these individuals, known as catechumens in the Catholic vernacular, affirmed their readiness to receive the sacraments of initiation — baptism, Eucharist and confirmation — in front of Bishop Dennis Sullivan and their family, friends, sponsors and parish catechists at the annual Rite of Election at Blackwood’s Our Lady of Hope Parish.

After declaring their sufficient preparation “to be enrolled among the elect,” and affirming that they have “faithfully listened to God’s word,” the congregation then pledged to “include (the catechumens) in (their) prayer and affection.”

The catechumens finally approached Bishop Sullivan at the altar, as their respective parish presented to him their own Book of Elect, signed by each of them.