IT’S SPRINGTIME ALREADY FOR THE DOSP
1063 catechumens and candidates came to St. Jude Cathedral yesterday (Sunday) for the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion. That is a great number for our relatively small diocese and to me it is always representatives of a new blossoming or Springtime for our beloved Church. I know we had probably an additional 300 who were unable to come to the Cathedral but who will either be baptized (the catechumens) or admitted to full communion (candidates) at the Easter Vigil.
The mother of all Catholic blogs, Whispers in the Loggia indicated that the Archdiocese of Atlanta had over 2200 for its Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion which is a wonderful number. That growing Archdiocese is approaching one million Catholics and most likely is the fastest growing local Church in the U.S. Philadelphia, it was noted, had a total of about 500 for their ceremony of welcome.
As I mentioned in an earlier blog, we had nine less at the Cathedral this year than last year and our number stays pretty steady throughout the years I have been here (now beginning my 15th). Statistically, that means we have baptized and received over 15,000 during that time. How many we have lost in a similar amount of time is harder to calculate and during the years of the clergy misconduct scandal there is no question slightly more people abandoned “ship” than remained on board.
Each year the pastors and associates and their respective Directors of the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) come to the Cathedral beaming as they bring their prospective newcomers up to shake the bishop’s hand and receive his welcome. Some approach me crying, some saying they have never shaken the hand of a bishop before, and some just can’t believe that the journey they embarked upon to become Catholic has so many others interested as is witnessed by the two sessions of a full Cathedral. This much I know for sure, I have to go home and soak my right hand to reduce the swelling caused by 1063 handshakes. How sweet that pain is!