Perth Auxiliary Bishop Donald Sproxton has declared 150 adults to be members of the elect, to be initiated into the sacred mysteries at the next Easter Vigil (April 11).
The Bishop’s formal declaration was made at the Rite of Election conducted this year at the Church of the Good Shepherd, Lockridge last Thursday night, February 19.
The 150 have been attending RCIA programs (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) at 24 parishes and the Indonesian and Chinese communities for many months and will continue their instruction and prayer in their parishes until Easter.
Their preparation will include public ceremonies known as the Scrutinies during weekend Mass at the parishes.
The participants consisted of 72 Catechumens (those who have not been baptised) and 78 Candidates (those who have been baptised in other churches and want to enter into full Communion with the Church).
In separate ceremonies, the Catechumens and Candidates, together with their godparents or sponsors, went forward to meet Bishop Sproxton and were invited to take their place in the sanctuary surrounding the altar where they were formally accepted as the Elect, chosen to move forward to receive the Sacraments of Initiation.
This important liturgical ceremony is based on the long biblical tradition of God choosing or electing people, from Abraham through to Moses, the Prophets and on to the Apostles and early converts to Christianity.
The names of all the current participants in this process initiated by God are written in the Archdiocese’s Book of the Elect which was carried in solemn procession to the sanctuary at the beginning of the ceremony.
God’s way of electing each person is unique, and one such story that emerged during conversation at the supper after the ceremony was that of Ken Dodds, a catechumen from Maddington.
After his career in the Army, he settled in Maddington and each week drove his wife to Mass and sat in his car or wandered around the car park. This went on for so long, many people took him to be a carpark attendant and would wave to him, he said.
When Fr Francis Ly was appointed parish priest of Maddington, Ken became involved with him in organising support for handicapped orphans and the nuns who care for them in Vietnam.
Last year, he accompanied Fr Francis and Archbishop Hickey to Vietnam where they saw the remarkable work and joy of the nuns and the children.
Late in the visit, when speeches were being made at a farewell lunch, Ken found himself standing there with tears streaming down his face. When the Vietnamese Bishop saw this he went to him to ask what was wrong, and Ken said his only response was “make me one of you” (meaning a Catholic).
“It is still all I want,” he said last week, but now he is much closer to his desire.