RCIA 126: Election and the Liturgical Cycle


Election fits into the liturgical year. This is how:

126. The sacraments of initiation are celebrated during the Easter solemnities, and preparation for these sacraments is part of the distinctive character of Lent. Accordingly, the rite of election should normally take place on the First Sunday of Lent and the period of final preparation of the elect should coincide with the Lenten season. The plan arranged for the Lenten season will benefit the elect by reason of both its liturgical structure and the participation of the community. For urgent pastoral reasons, especially in secondary mission stations, it is permitted to celebrate the rite of election during the week preceding or following the First Sunday of Lent.

When, because of unusual circumstances and pastoral needs, the rite of election is celebrated outside Lent, it is to be celebrated about six weeks before the sacraments of initiation, in order to allow sufficient time for the scrutinies and presentations. The rite is not to be celebrated on a solemnity of the liturgical year (see RCIA 29).


Notice that Lent is, in part, defined for all the faith community–all the Church, really–by the catechumenate process. The rite of election itself is joined tightly to the First Sunday of Lent.

The practice in some dioceses is that election takes place at the cathedral with the presidency of the bishop. In other sees, regional centers may be added to the slate and election might take place several times. Most of those liturgies will be led by designated representatives of the bishop.

It takes a matter of some urgency to move election off that Sunday. And when initiation has been detached from the Easter Vigil, a whole period of purification and enlightenment is observed after election.

Finally, note that these prescriptions are for the unbaptized only. RCIA does not require these for baptized candidates.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in post-conciliar liturgy documents, RCIA, Rites. Bookmark the permalink.

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