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KOTA KINABALU – Over 1,300 catechumens were enrolled in the Book of the Elect during the Rite of Election on 14 Feb 2016 in the Kota Kinabalu Archdiocese.
Archbishop John Wong presided over the three-language annual rite, assisted by Deacon Joshua Liew at the Sacred Heart Cathedral here. The 1,283 catechumens from 17 parishes and two churches were accompanied by their parish priests or assistant parish priests; 1,069 godparents and 104 facilitators, a total of 2,456 jam-packed inside a 1,800-seating capacity cathedral building on a hot afternoon.
Ranau took the lead with 230 catechumens, followed by Sacred Heart Cathedral with 212, Penampang 129 and Tuaran 118. Labuan held its own Rite of Election for 50 catechumens officiated by Msgr Primus Jouil. Bundu Tuhan has no catechumen.
The Rite of Election closes the Period of the Catechumenate. This rite normally coincides with the first Sunday of Lent. At this rite, upon the testimony of sponsors and catechists and the catechumens’ affirmation of their intention to join the Church, the Church makes its “election” of these catechumens to receive the Sacraments of Initiation. In the presence of the bishop (or his delegate), they inscribe their names in the Book of the Elect at the cathedral as a pledge of fidelity. Now the catechumens are called “the elect’ or “the illuminandi” (“those who will be enlightened”). They now begin a Period of Purification and Enlightenment — the final, intense preparation for the reception of the Sacraments of Initiation. On the next five Sundays of Lent, three scrutinies (rites for self-searching and repentance) and the presentations of the Creed and Lord’s Prayer take place. This period concludes with the celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation at the Easter Vigil.
After the rite, all those present were invited to the parish hall for some refreshments. It was the first time the archdiocese had seen such a large turnout so the archbishop, who is also the parish priest of the cathedral, decided to hold the next rite of election in the parish hall if the number exceeds 1,000 in 2017.