The following comes from a November 30 Inland Catholic Byte article by Sister Jeremy Gallet, S.P.:

SAN BERNARDINO—This year the Diocese of San Bernardino will be making some major changes to the way the Rite of Election is celebrated. Both the Call to Continuing Conversion – the rite for baptized non-Catholic Christians – and the Rite of Election for children will be celebrated in the local parishes rather than on the Diocesan level. There are reasons for these changes which are both practical and pastoral.

The Call to Continuing Conversion is the ceremony in which baptized non-Catholics (Candidates) make a profession of faith, are received into full communion with the Catholic Church followed by the reception of the Eucharist and Confirmation. It is perfectly appropriate that the Candidates participate in much of the same formation as the unbaptized Catechumens, and this is the practice in most parishes.

However, the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) warns that “care must be taken to maintain the distinction between the catechumens and the baptized candidates (#549).” There is a very good reason for this. For the Candidates, Baptism is actually the starting point of their formation which consists in developing the graces and effects of their Baptism; therefore this rite should be seen as a celebration of the Church with its climax in Eucharistic communion. It is ordinarily celebrated at the beginning of Lent, and the presiding celebrant should usually be the pastor of the parish (#448). One of the implications of the implementation of this directive is that the Candidates do not participate in the Rite of Sending neither do they sign the book of the Elect.

“This is no way diminishes the significance of their call to conversion, but emphasizes the importance and privilege of the call they have already received,” Bishop Barnes states in an October 20 letter announcing the local changes in the Rite of Election.

The Rite of Election for children is also being transferred to the parishes. The Diocese of San Bernardino has been blessed with great numbers of children and adult Catechumens seeking entry into the Church. It has become quite unwieldy for just one person to preside over the nine Rites of Election the Diocese celebrates at this time, so Bishop Barnes has granted permission for all Pastors to celebrate the Rite of Election for Children in their individual parishes.