Wednesday, 20 February 2013 13:51
Bishop Michael O. Jackels welcomed new members of the church family at a Rite of Election Sunday, Feb. 17, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita.
“You are recognized as part of our family,” he said in the homily, “you’re kind of like fiancés – spoken for.”
Bishop Jackels received hundreds of catechumens, those who are unbaptized, and candidates, those who are baptized but seeking full union with the Catholic Church, at three recent Rites of Election. Two rites were held at the Cathedral and a third will be held on Sunday, Feb. 24, at St. Francis Church in St. Paul. A fourth rite will be held at Holy Cross Church Sunday, March 3, in Hutchinson.
“While this is not equivalent to baptism and a profession of faith that brings you into full communion, this is significant, you are publicly recognized,” he said at the second of two rites held Feb. 17 at the Cathedral.
Bishop Jackels emphasized the universality, the oneness of the church, in his homily. He said ideally every Catholic in the world would gather every Sunday at the pope’s church in Rome, the Papal Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, the mother church of all churches.
“Because we are one family, one community of believers, one assembly gathered together to worship God in Holy Mass,” he said. “One family gathered around the table of the word and the table of the Eucharist – like a family gathered around the kitchen table.”
The distance to Rome and the number of Catholics – now over 1 billion – makes gathering in Rome impossible, Bishop Jackels said, adding, “That would be one long Communion.”
So the world is divided into dioceses, where ideally everyone in the diocese would gather every Sunday in the cathedral to worship, he said. But because of distances and numbers, dioceses are further divide into parishes.
“We are one family,” Bishop Jackels said. “We may never make it to Rome. We may never meet in person – whoever is the Bishop of Rome, the successor of Peter – but we still call him papa, Holy Father. He is the father of our universal church as I am the parent of this diocesan church.”
“These are the members of your family,” he told the catechumens and candidates. “It’s most appropriate that you step into our family home.”