The First Sunday of Lent is the day when all those preparing to be baptized, confirmed and to receive the Eucharist for the first time at the Easter Vigil come together with the bishop of the diocese. The ceremony is called the Rite of the Elect. In our diocese, as the diocesan bishop, leads two services of the Word; one at St. Agnes Cathedral and one at a parish in Suffolk. This year we gathered Sunday afternoon at St. John the Evangelist in Center Moriches. I met with about 200 catechumens, their sponsors and priests and RCIA leaders from their parishes. My task is first to break open the Word of God to them and then to receive assurances that they are prepared to receive the sacraments at the Easter Vigil. Once that is done, these men and women and children are now declared to be true catechumens by the bishop who then invites them to sign the Book of the Elect. After prayers and with songs on our lips and in our hearts, we rejoice in these new catechumens, soon to be members of the Church of Rockville Centre. Before concluding our celebration, the bishop invites everyone present to promise to join him in praying for the catechumens all during Lent. I invite all of you to join us in daily prayer for these men, women and children who will become full members of this diocesan Church at the Easter Vigil on March 30.

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