Rite of Election: Archbishop assures all that ‘God is on our side’
Addressing hundreds of people seeking full communion with the Catholic Church, Archbishop George J. Lucas assured them God has a plan – calling all to sainthood and eternal life with him.
From baptism through confirmation, first Communion and the other sacraments, God demonstrates his desire that people trust him and lead flourishing lives through him, the archbishop said Feb. 18 in his homily at the Rite of Election and the Call to Continuing Conversion of the Baptized at St. Cecilia Cathedral in Omaha.
“Our heavenly Father looks at those to be baptized and it is as though he is saying, ‘I have a plan for this woman.’ Or, ‘I have a plan for this man,’” the archbishop said. Details will differ, but ultimately the plan is for everyone to be saints, assured of a place in heaven and life with God that never ends, the archbishop said.
“God’s promise is all good,” he said. “From baptism on, God is on our side. God is not out to get us. He is not waiting for us to trip up. He is always with us. “He never says, ‘The deal’s off. You’ve fouled things up so much, I’m changing my plan.’” The road map for that plan is to live in and through the life, death and resurrection of JesusChrist, the archbishop said.
Even when life becomes difficult, and sin allowed by free will gets in the way, the Lord is with everyone, and gave his life so that everyone can have life, and have it abundantly, he said.
“God loves us so much, he’s even given us his own Son,” the archbishop said.
About 145 people gathered at the cathedral as catechumens and were greeted by the archbishop as part of the Rite of Election, publicly declaring their intent to be baptized, confirmed and receive holy Communion at Easter Vigils in parishes across the archdiocese; and about 320 people came as candidates on their journey to receiving the sacraments of confirmation and first Communion. They and their sponsors, family and friends gathered at an afternoon ceremony for people from mostly rural parishes, and an evening ceremony for people in the Omaha area.
Mark Sayre, a member with his wife, Sujey, of St. Michael Parish in South Sioux City, came to declare his intent to be confirmed and receive the Eucharist.
It was an honor to meet the archbishop, Sayre said, and “to grow closer to God and be part of the church and the community.”