WASHINGTON, D.C.—Ten members of the United States Military, all based in greater Washington, celebrated the Rite of Election on Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the main chapel of the Edwin Cardinal O’Brien Pastoral Center. His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the Military Services, USA, presided at the 3:00 p.m. service. Formally elected by the Catholic Church to receive the Sacraments of Initiation were: Technical Sergeant Alexander William Ray Rasp, USAF, of Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling; Midshipman First Class Luke Dalton, USN, Midshipman Third Class Kyle Chiang, USN, and Midshipman Fourth Class Nicholas Berry, USN, all of the U.S. Naval Academy; and Captain Evan Forrest Keel, USMC, Second Lieutenants Bailey Williams, Daniel Grey Chandler, Brian Joseph Lander, and Jessica Nicole Ringer, USMC, and Religious Program Specialist Second Class Charles Edward Greer, Jr., USMC, all of Marine Corps Base Quantico.
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 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 bishops in their area.For servicemen and women stationed in greater Washington, at least, undergoing the Rite of Election at the AMS’s home base—the Edwin Cardinal O’Brien Pastoral Center—is a real option, as the ten elected on Sunday can attest.