WASHINGTON, D.C.—Three members of the United States Military and the spouse of a U.S. serviceman, all based in greater Washington, celebrated the Rite of Election on Sunday, March 5, 2017, at the Edwin Cardinal O’Brien Pastoral Center. Midshipman First Class Michelle Yenlinh Doan, Petty Officer Second Class Kenneth James Reiners, and Ms. Amanda Kay Rodriguez—all affiliated with the U.S. Naval Academy—and Captain Dru Megan Foster of the U.S. Army, based at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, were formally elected by the Catholic Church to receive the Sacraments of Initiation at the 3:00 p.m. rite in the main chapel. His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the Military Services, presided.
The Rite of Election is the penultimate milestone in a months-long process of catechetical instruction, prayer and spiritual practice, and liturgies for unbaptized adults committed to becoming Catholics. The Rite of Election, ordinarily celebrated on the first Sunday of Lent, is the third ritual celebrated as part of the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA). After celebrating the Rite of Election, the Catechumens are called “the elect” while undertaking, throughout Lent, a period of purification and enlightenment—the final, intense preparation for the reception at Easter of the Sacraments of Initiation—Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Eucharist.
Like other Catholic archdioceses and dioceses, the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS), celebrates the RCIA every year for adults expressing an interest in becoming Catholic. The AMS process is unique, however, in that the Archdiocese’s population is spread all over the world—wherever U.S. Military personnel or those working for the federal government happen to be at any moment. Because all of the AMS’s Catechumens cannot gather in Washington, D.C., to celebrate the Rite of Election with Archbishop Broglio, those outside the National Capital Region celebrate the rite with the local diocesan bishop in their area.
For servicemen and women stationed in greater Washington, at least, participating in the Rite of Election at the AMS’s home base—the Edwin Cardinal O’Brien Pastoral Center—is a real option, as the four elected on Sunday can attest.