Almost 700 people from 135 parishes in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia are preparing to enter full communion with the Catholic Church this Easter. Archbishop Charles Chaput met and encouraged them in the Rite of Election held at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul, Philadelphia, March 8-9.

There are 309 catechumens preparing to enter the Catholic Church through reception of the sacraments of baptism, Eucharist and confirmation, plus 386 candidates who have already been baptized and will receive their remaining sacraments of initiation into the church. All are studying at their parishes with sponsors, pastor and parishioners in the RCIA process (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults).

The cathedral hosted two liturgical celebrations Saturday, March 8. The afternoon rite included 47 parishes in Montgomery County and Philadelphia-South for 78 catechumens and 116 candidates. An evening rite included 45 parishes in Bucks and Delaware counties for 74 catechumens and 134 candidates. An afternoon rite on Sunday, March 9 included 43 parishes from Chester County and Philadelphia-North for 157 catechumens and 136 candidates.

All the Catholic faithful are invited to pray for the catechumens and candidates who will receive the sacraments of initiation at the Easter vigil Mass in their parishes, April 19. (Photos by Sarah Webb)