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Rite of Election sees siblings joining Catholic family

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The Rite of Election was a family affair for the Russells as the five teenage siblings journeyed further on their path into the Catholic Faith on March 6 during the Rite of Election held at St. Joseph Cathedral. Daniel, Alaysha, Chloe, Elijah and Kaylia made the group decision to officially join the Catholic faith after living with their adoptive family for a decade. 

Bishop Michael W. Fisher, inscribes the name of a catecumen into the Book of the Elect during the Rite of Election Mass, held March 6 at St. Joseph Cathedral. (Photo by Nicole Dzimira)

We’ve been Catholic since we’ve been adopted,” explained Elijah. “Now, we’re getting more involved into it.”

“I want them to experience the love, the bond and the tradition (of the Catholic faith),” said Pat Trawinski, their mother. “I feel that it is an important part of life. In today’s world with the connections and the electronics, I think it’s important to slow down and stay grounded and purposely tap into your spirituality because so many people don’t anymore.”

The Russells will all receive the sacraments of baptism, Communion and confirmation during the Easter vigil, Saturday, April 16 at their home parish of St. Mary’s in Swormville.

Daniel, 16, is looking to take advantage of his new role in the Church. He wants to serve his community where he is most needed. Being plugged into parish life, will guide him.

“There’s more opportunities in the community. You can help out more. You have a whole different mindset because you think more about others than yourself. So, it helps a lot with personal and public life,” he said. 

He hopes to become a counselor to help other underprivileged kids dealing with issues similar to the ones he and his siblings had before being adopted. The five blood siblings were living in two separate foster homes before being reunited.

“I’ve had my own struggles, so I know a lot about how counselors run stuff, and I want to help kids like me because I didn’t have the best childhood, but I’m beginning to have a better life. So, I want to show kids that there is a brighter side, a brighter future. It’s not all bad,” he said.

The Russells were among 60 catechumens and candidates who took another step in joining the Catholic faith. 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, they inscribe their names in the Book of the Elect at the cathedral as a pledge of fidelity. The catechumens are now called “the elect” and begin a period of purification and enlightenment – the final, intense preparation for the reception of the sacraments of initiation. This period concludes with the celebration of the sacraments of initiation at the Easter Vigil.

During his homily, Bishop Michael W. Fisher admitted that some people may question why others would join the Catholic Church at this point in history.

“Now is the perfect time to do that,” he said. “It is a time when we are called to renew the Church. Every time someone is baptized or comes into the Church, it’s new life, just like the birth of a baby into a family. You bring to us new hope and new life.”

The church is always in renewal he reminded everyone, pointing to Lent as an example of the dying and rising rhythm the Church maintains.

20220306 – Rite of Election – Sponsors and Godparents place their hand son the shoulders of the elect as a show of support during the Rite of Election. (Photo by Nicole Dzimira)

“May everything we do be grounded and inspired by the One who came to serve and not to be served,” the bishop said in closing. “Let us continue to pray for these candidates and their families and they respond to God’s call of being disciples of Jesus, that call that each one of us is to respond to.”

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