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The Rite of Election 2024

The Rite of Election 2024

Last Saturday 17th February, the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion was held in the Cathedral. There were over 100 candidates and catechumens, and also two testimonies. Here is the homily I preached.

Each one of us has a story to tell, about our faith, about the history of our salvation, about what God has done for us in our lives. Some of us may have had a major moment of change and conversion, like St. Paul en route to Damascus, knocked off his horse. Many of us have gentler stories of growth in faith, about our upbringing, or getting married and having children, perhaps a period away from the Church before a quiet return. My own faith-story is rather straightforward. We were a Catholic family. I was one of five boys. We were not especially devout, but we did have the routine of going to Sunday Mass. God by His grace kept me going and later at university I eventually discerned a vocation to the priesthood. The point is: all of us have a story to tell, and maybe afterwards next door, we’ll have a chance to share them with one another.

Let me say this. We’ve just heard two beautiful readings, one the story of Abraham and the amazing promises God made him: I will make you a great nation; I will bless you; I will make your name famous. This is his story, the story of his call, his vocation, in which the Lord asked him to ‘up-sticks’ and leave for a distant land, about which he knew nothing. Like Abraham, we too do not know what the future is going to be like. All we do know is that God is love; He is our loving Father; He is to be trusted; we know that with Him all will be well, even if we cannot see the whole journey ahead. The point is: Abraham believed; he did leave his father’s house for a foreign land; God changed his life and so he became the first person of faith, our father in faith as the First Eucharistic Prayer puts it. But then in the Gospel, we hear a similar story about the first disciples, how John the Baptist pointed Jesus out and Jesus invited them to spend the day with Him, listening to His Word and getting to know Him. Come and see Jesus said to them. Andrew was so bowled over, he ran to tell his brother: We have found the Messiah. When Simon Peter came to Jesus, he too was converted, and his life thrown upside down.

I’m happy today to welcome you to this Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion. In this Liturgy we thank God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, for the gift of faith, for the call to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, for the invitation to become a member of His Catholic Church. Like Andrew and his brother, we too have found the Messiah and like them we want to go and tell others. God’s grace has touched us; we’ve begun the adventure of a lifetime; and we want to share this with others. This is why every day we should be profoundly thankful. Our Catholic faith is the most precious and most important thing in life. It gives our lives meaning and purpose; it gives us joy and happiness; it gives us one day, we pray, a place in heaven, our everlasting home.

Ecce Agnus Dei! St. John the Baptist said: Behold the Lamb of God! We’ve heard about the call of Abraham and the first Apostles, and we thank God for our own call, our own journey of faith. It’s this that makes us want to go and tell others. So we’re pleased in this Liturgy to hear the story of two converts, Vicki who was baptized and Kathleen recently received into full communion with the Church. Let us give thanks to God for the priceless gift of our faith, and let us first welcome Vicki to come forward, briefly to tell us her story of baptism and conversion.