Cardinal Seán's Blog

Cardinal Seán shares his reflections & experiences.

Celebrating the Rite of Election

Hello and welcome!

Last Thursday, I visited the Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Brookline for the institution of seminarian Andrea Filippucci as an acolyte . The ministry of acolyte is tantamount to the old sub-diaconate. IMG_8213IMG_8219

The ministries, what used to be called minor orders, are important ways to stress the need for the spiritual, intellectual, human and pastoral formation that is necessary for a priest. It is a call to deeper commitment in one’s process of formation.IMG_8277IMG_8295IMG_8308

I was very happy to be able to gather with the seminary community as Andrea took this important step towards priesthood.IMG_8324

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Sunday, we celebrated the Rite of Election at the Cathedral the Holy Cross. In fact, we had two celebrations, one at 1:30 and another at 4:00, because the Cathedral could not fit all those who wanted to attend. The Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion for those who will be received into the Church at Easter is celebrated at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross March 9, 2014. (Pilot photo/ Christopher S. Pineo) The Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion for those who will be received into the Church at Easter is celebrated at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross March 9, 2014. (Pilot photo/ Christopher S. Pineo) The Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion for those who will be received into the Church at Easter is celebrated at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross March 9, 2014. (Pilot photo/ Christopher S. Pineo)

Between both celebrations, there were about 650 catechumens and candidates who will enter the Church at Easter. The catechumens are those who are preparing for baptism and the candidates are those who have already been baptized in other Christian churches and are going to receive the other sacraments of initiation and make their profession of faith on Holy Saturday as their way of entering the Church officially.The Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion for those who will be received into the Church at Easter is celebrated at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross March 9, 2014. (Pilot photo/ Christopher S. Pineo) The Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion for those who will be received into the Church at Easter is celebrated at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross March 9, 2014. (Pilot photo/ Christopher S. Pineo) The Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion for those who will be received into the Church at Easter is celebrated at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross March 9, 2014. (Pilot photo/ Christopher S. Pineo) The Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion for those who will be received into the Church at Easter is celebrated at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross March 9, 2014. (Pilot photo/ Christopher S. Pineo) The Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion for those who will be received into the Church at Easter is celebrated at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross March 9, 2014. (Pilot photo/ Christopher S. Pineo)

It was the largest group that we have had in recent memory and about 100 more than last year. Perhaps it is the Francis effect, I do not know!The Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion for those who will be received into the Church at Easter is celebrated at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross March 9, 2014. (Pilot photo/ Christopher S. Pineo) The Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion for those who will be received into the Church at Easter is celebrated at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross March 9, 2014. (Pilot photo/ Christopher S. Pineo)

The Rite of Election is a very important opportunity for our new Catholics to have an experience of the wider church. To be at the Cathedral with hundreds of other men and women who are also entering the Church this year is very reaffirming to them. It is also a reminder to the entire Catholic community of the need to be a welcoming and inviting community.

The Rite of Election is always a wonderful reminder at the beginning of Lent that Lent is really a baptismal retreat, as the whole community prepares to renew our baptism and accompany those who are being baptized as part of the celebration of Easter.

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On Monday, I traveled to Washington to chair the meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee for Pro-Life Activities and participate in the meeting of the USCCB administrative board.2

The Pro-Life Committee meeting was held on Monday and one of the subjects that was discussed was the experience of the March for Life this year which, despite the weather, had a great attendance. We spoke of the importance of having an ecumenical dimension in the events surrounding the March, which we have begun to do with the Orthodox, and the intention is to reach out to other groups as well.

We also talked about the training that was held in Washington for directors of Project Rachel programs from around the nation. Marianne Luthin, the director of our pro-life office, was very involved in leading the training.Logo Final 10 beads

One of the things we have been trying to do in the Pro-Life Committee is to encourage the expansion of the post-abortion healing ministry Project Rachel in dioceses.

Over the summer we sent out a questionnaire asking the Project Rachel directors if they would be interested in coming to Washington for a few days of training. Because we were anxious to have the directors attend, we offered to put them up in a retreat house, as long as they could cover the cost of traveling to Washington. This was a great help, especially for small dioceses with very limited budgets, and the response was just overwhelming.

Within a couple of weeks we had more attendees signing up than could fit in the retreat house. So, they found two other retreat houses to accommodate the overflow. Finally, they had to cap the registration once those two were filled.

In all, there were 69 representatives from Project Rachel programs from around the country who gathered in Washington from February 23-26. It was the first time such a national training was held for Project Rachel directors.

The training program started from a prayerful perspective, seeking to explain the importance of Project Rachel to the pro-life movement, to the Church and also as part of the new evangelization, because we know that nearly one-in-three women of childbearing age in the U.S. has had an abortion (and, sadly, the figure is no smaller among women who identify themselves as Catholic).

Of course, the first outreach of Project Rachel is to the women who have experienced abortion, they are the ones who are most deeply affected, but also to men and all the other people who are involved, it really is the whole culture.

Because of the enormity of the task, rather than having every diocese create its own structure, the USCCB has tried to take on a leadership role in providing information and training. We have developed a resource manual to help both priests and those directing the programs, and the directors will also be following up on this training program with webinars on topics they thought were worthy of further exploration.

In Boston, we have had just a very positive experience with Project Rachel helping those who suffer in the aftermath of abortion. We have had over 300 women participate in our one-day retreat program here. In fact, we have retreats coming up on March 29 and April 26. If you or someone you know is suffering as the result of an abortion, I urge you to call Project Rachel. In the Boston area, you can call 508-651-3100 or email help@projectrachelboston.com. Be assured that all inquiries are strictly confidential.

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Finally, when I am in Washington, I stay at the Capuchin friary. I was struck by this sign that they have up for Lent. Instead of saying no smoking or no entrance it says no alleluia!1

Until next week,

Cardinal Seán

6 Responses to Celebrating the Rite of Election


Comments

  1. Comment by Colleen Donohoe | 2014/03/14 at 21:44:23

    Beautiful reflection on the Project Rachel ministry! Thank you, Cardinal Sean!

  2. Comment by Cindy Grimes | 2014/03/14 at 23:13:42

    I just wanted to say, that just seeing this installment, helped me.
    I am glad that I have stayed with the Church I was brought up in.
    I am glad to see here things I wouldn’t otherwise know about.
    It’s nice to be able to participate in that.
    I am glad for this way of reaching people.
    Thank you.

    Sincerely
    Cindy Grimes
    cindygrimes@ymail.com

  3. Comment by Cheryl Keating | 2014/03/15 at 09:13:35

    That is so Awesome to hear that there were so many people ready to fully embrace the Catholic faith for the first time, it makes me think that maybe the tides really are finally beginning to turn GOD IS GOOD !! It is also very good to see more efforts being made on the prolife front to help women in need of healing, I pray daily for a stop to the death mentality this country seems to be embracing and I am currently praying hard to find out how I can help with that in some way. Can I ask that you please keep me and my husband Stephen and my 4 daughters in your prayers as we are dealing with some difficult issues at this time. Thank you for all the good you do in your Vocation Cardinal Sean, and may God continue to bless you abundantly .

    Cheryl Keating

  4. Comment by Rachel SFO | 2014/03/15 at 23:00:01

    Hi Cardinal Sean..Good to see increased attention and expansion for Project Rachel… Thanks for all the great prolife work !! Your friend in New York.. Rachel

  5. Comment by Adam Jennings | 2014/03/16 at 20:18:17

    Dear Cardinal Seán,

    My name is Adam Jennings and I am a freshman at BC High. I am writing this response for my Christian thought class at school. I would just like you to know how grateful I am that you have this blog. It is extremely insightful and I love how it allows younger people, such as myself, to stay involved with what is going on in the church even though we are blinded by our advancing technology. I very much enjoy reading your blog. Thank you.

    Sincerely,
    Adam Jennings

  6. Comment by Michael Ball | 2014/03/18 at 20:00:43

    I really enjoyed reading through this whole blog. Many of these topics are very interesting and are great topics for discussion. I find it really interesting to look through all of the many posts, and read about many of these amazing things that are going on in our church community. Thanks so much for creating this blog and please continue to post interesting things on here. Many of your posts were inspirational and just overall great to read. Lastly I think it is very cool how people can give feedback on all of your posts. I think that is very important and one of the best parts about the whole idea. Thanks again Cardinal Sean!


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