Diocese welcomes hundreds of new members at Easter

Rite of Election ceremonies for catechumens, candidates held

WELCOME TO THE CHURCH Bishop Richard F. Stika greets catechumen Alonzo Creech during the Rite of Election at St. John Neumann Church on Feb. 16. Accompanying Alonzo is his godparent, Avelardo Mercado. Photo by Dan McWilliams

WELCOME TO THE CHURCH Bishop Richard F. Stika greets catechumen Alonzo Creech during the Rite of Election at St. John Neumann Church on Feb. 16. Accompanying Alonzo is his godparent, Avelardo Mercado. Photo by Dan McWilliams

A total of 300 future Catholics took part in the annual Rite of Election ceremonies held around the diocese on the first weekend of Lent.

Bishop Richard F. Stika presided at each of the four deanery rites. Accompanying him was Sister Mary Timothea Elliott, director of Christian Formation for the diocese.

“I just want to welcome you to the Church,” Bishop Stika said to the newcomers Feb. 16 at St. John Neumann Church in Farragut, site of the Cumberland Mountain Deanery Rite of Election. “Those of you who are not baptized and those who are already baptized, in the name of the Catholic Church in East Tennessee . . . I welcome you to the Diocese of Knoxville.”

The event’s full name is the Rite of Election of Catechumens and the Call to Continuing Conversion of Candidates. Catechumens have never been baptized and received the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and Eucharist at the Easter Vigil. Candidates have been baptized and were confirmed and received the Eucharist at the Easter Vigil.

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