Families, friends and 718 catechumens and candidates filled the cathedral for the Rite of Election.
ALL: ALBERT C. PACCIORINI/THE CATHOLIC VOICE
Rite of Election 2017
By each parish or community, sponsors and godparents stood with catechumens and candidates as the bishop addressed them.
Those seeking baptism and those seeking full reception into the Catholic Church — 718 people, with their families and friends — gathered at the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland on the weekend of March 4-5 for the annual Rite of Election.
Catechumens — those seeking baptism — and candidates — those seeking confirmation and full reception into the church — were presented to Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ. Later their names were entered into the registries of their respective parishes.
The bishop congratulated the elect as they stand "before the world and you declare you are a friend of Jesus and he declares you are part of his family."
"May all the grace of heavenly life relay to you after you are baptized and confirmed," he said.
Bishop Barber recalled when he served as a Marine chaplain, and troops were about to go into battle. One Marine insisted on being baptized right away. "If I die, I want to go to heaven," the Marine said.
So the bishop used water from his canteen, and wrote down details of the baptism on a piece of paper. Years later, when the Marine wanted to marry, he had to track down Bishop Barber, who affirmed to the parish priest the paper and baptism were legitimate.
"People have to want to be friends of Christ," the bishop said, congratulating them on entering the Church.
After the ceremony, the bishop was photographed with each of the 61 parishes represented at each of the three events.
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