Rite of Election & Easter Vigil

Hi all,

I’m enrolled in the RCIA program at my parish. Today, during the lesson, one of our instructors explained to us that we would all be going to meet the bishop during early February. The date which he gave us on the RCIA schedule was labeled “Rite of Election”. Precursory Google searches have yielded very little results. Can someone please explain to me what this is, and what exactly will happen?

And on a related note, I’ve been told we’ll be fully received into the Church during Easter Vigil. Because I am unbaptized, I will also be baptized into the Catholic faith at this time. It probably differs a bit from area to area, but how would an Easter Vigil service go? Please be as detailed as possible, I’m really curious about all of the liturgy and what to expect.

Thanks. :smiley:

You will be “Sent” (optional - Rite of Sending) by your parish to meet the Bishop. As a Catechumen you will enter your name into the “Book of The Elect”. The Bishop will sign this page with the names of the Catechumens to be Baptized at the Easter Vigil. This constitutes his permission for your Pastor to Initiate you by celebrating Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Communion. Candidates DO NOT enter their names into this book.

The Easter Vigil is a very long (about 3 hours) and moving liturgy, beginning outside, moving into a dark church, it can have up to 7 (?) readings before the Gospel. Everyone prays for you, including the invoking of the prayers of the Saints.

As Br. Rich said you will be “Sent” by your parish. What it entailed for me was a gathering of all the unbaptized from nearby(50 mile radius or so) parishes to a single pre-determined Catholic church. For us, the parishes were seated in particular spots and once our parish was called we would stand. The Bishop was actually away attending a funeral in Northern Virginia so the Monsignor from the Richmond Diocese oversaw the rite.

The leader of the RCIA class presented the Book of The Elect to the Monsignor and then he signed off on it. The rite wasn’t very long but it was one of those markers that show you are closer than you were in becoming Catholic.

In addition to the excellent responses, simply ask those at your parish these questions.

The Easter Vigil Mass was very different than an ordinary Mass. All those being accepted into the church(including the unbaptized, unconfirmed) were gathered outside of the church. Inside the church the lights were off but all the members were gathered and in their seats. The priest was outside with us and had a wireless microphone that he was wearing. He gave a short prayer at the beginning, burned palm leaves and from those leaves lit a candle. A candle was given to each of us and as we entered the candle we held was lit from the first candle.

As we entered we were ushered to our “reserved” seats. The lights came on and from this point the Mass continued as it normally does. My memory is a little fuzzy as it was a big night, but before the Communion Rite, the unbaptized and our sponsors were called up to the front where we were lined up. A series of questions were asked(don’t worry, the answers are easy and you’ll be prepared for them ie. What do you seek? Baptism, etc.) and afterwards we were led to a pool where we were doused with water. One of my buddies and me referred to it as “waterboarding” as the priest seemed to enjoy this part more than anything…he was getting me back for all the jokes I made during RCIA.

After our Baptism we were sent out to dress in a white linen robe and to dry off (by the way all of this was rehearsed the RCIA class before the Easter Vigil so you will know everything you need to). After a key word was spoken, all the “dry” newly Baptized, sponsors and the other Candidates joined together in the front of the church. At this point we were Confirmed, one by one. The priest stepped in front of each of us, asked us our Confirmation name(or name if the person didn’t choose one) and then sealed us with the Holy Spirit by making the sign of the cross on us with Chrism Oil(very sticky stuff that the priest seems to like to coat your head in:D). Afterwards we were sent back to our seats.

The priest carried on with the Communion Rite as normal. When the Communion lines began to form, we were called up first and at that point received our First Communion( I forgot to say Amen and the priest just held the host until I finally said it…I was so excited to finally take it I forgot what I was supposed to do).

The Easter Vigil Mass was a very beautiful Mass and although I am not a very emotional person you can feel yourself becoming “whole” at that point. Though the RCIA wasn’t long for our parish, it was still a journey with new friends, it was nice to get to that “destination” that you have been working towards. Its cool that I now have two birthdays of sorts…my physical birthday and my spiritual birthday.

Now there is the type of answer I was hoping to read. I am filled with Joy and Love for all people because I will be baptised during the Easter Vigil. Tomorrow is the Rite of Sending and the Rite of Election at the Cathedral. I know where I am going and I know the way to get there is through Prayer and Total Faith in God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. I give my live to you Lord. Let me do as you will all the days of my life.:gopray2:

um that is the purpose of your class, to ask these questions, and as the dates are upon us it is time to ask your director

every parish and diocese has their own spin on things

welcome home!

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.