Saturday, 17 February, was a moving day for many as 204 catechumens and 184 candidates, with their Godparents and sponsors, filled St George’s Cathedral for the Rite of Election and the Call to Continuing Conversion. The name of every candidate and catechumen was read out during the Rites, illustrating that Christ was calling them by name to be baptized or enter into full communion with the Catholic Church. One couple remarked to Mark Nash, director of the Centre for Catholic Formation, the agency responsible for organising the day, that it was ‘such a joyous occasion that they had felt utterly uplifted for the whole day’. Indeed some of those gathered have promised to volunteers at next year’s celebration!
Archbishop Peter Smith led the celebration accompanied by two Area Bishops and the Vicar General of the diocese. The readings chosen for the Rite this year, highlighted the joy of being ‘anointed of God’ (Isaiah 61:1-11); provided an encouragement to live true Christian lives as we await the Second Coming of Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:16-24); and stressed the need for metanoia – a word which can be translated as repentance or conversion – and the nearness of the Kingdom of God (Mark 1:14-20). The music was led by the diocesan choir, animated by Canon Alan McLean, and many people commented on how much they enjoyed the music chosen for the day. Our thanks also go to Peter Morrissey, from the Diocesan Deaf Service, who provided signing throughout the service for the deaf and hard of hearing.
The cathedral was full, and the day seems to have been judged by all involved as a tremendous success.