After the Rite of Sending from the local parish comes
The Rite of Election with the Bishop
How strange this title sounds to us! While many of us would probably agree that our national, state and local elections are rituals of a special breed, we hardly expect to find a "rite of election" in church. But long before any of our ancestors thought of electing their leaders, God was electing a people, selecting Israel, a rag-tag clan in a tiny corner of the earth, to be special, holy, a chosen people. God did not choose them because they were noteworthy in any way; they were not powerful, strong or particularly clever. But once they were chosen, they were God's forever. Even when they strayed, looking to other gods for hope or help, God clung to them fiercely, calling them back again and again when anyone else would have gladly let them go.
It is the same with us. God chooses us, elects us, in Christ, to be a holy people, to be a church, to be signs of the reign of God on earth. The catechumens who have been preparing for baptism and those who have been working with them for months and years believe that God has chosen them to be one of us, the baptized. At the rite of election, their godparents, sponsors, catechists, pastors and friends will testify before the bishop that God has chosen these people. They will offer the evidence of their lives among us, hearing and following God's word, praying with God's people and taking part in the work and the communal life of God's church. After listening to this testimony, the bishop will declare that they are elected for baptism, chosen to be God's own in Christ Jesusnot because they earned it, but because God wants it. And that is election by a landslide!
Text by Victoria M. Tufano.