WASHINGTON, D.C. — Five aspiring Catholics affiliated with the United States Military, all based in greater Washington, celebrated the Rite of Election on Sunday, February 21, 2021, 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. celebration.
Formally elected by the Catholic Church to receive the Sacraments of Initiation were: Second Lieutenant Rod Torres (USMC) and Corporal Alexis Crisanto (USMC), both of Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia; Midshipman Third Class Abram Dierickx (USN) of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD; and Mr. Jerrell Flowers and Mr. Khaleal Flowers, brothers from a U.S. Army-affiliated family at Fort Belvoir, VA.
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, ordinarily held on the first Sunday of Lent, is the third of four rituals observed as part of the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA). After completing the Rite of Election, the Catechumens are called “the elect” while undertaking, throughout the remainder of Lent, a period of purification and enlightenment—the final, intense preparation for the reception at Easter of the Sacraments of Initiation—Baptism, Confirmation, and the Holy Eucharist.
Like other Catholic archdioceses and dioceses, the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS), celebrates the RCIA every year for adults committed to becoming Catholic. The AMS process is unique, however, in that the Archdiocese’s mainly military population is spread all over the world—wherever U.S. Military personnel happen to be at any moment. Since it is practically impossible for all of the AMS’s Catechumens based worldwide to gather at one time in Washington, DC, to celebrate the Rite of Election with Archbishop Broglio, those serving outside the National Capital Region generally celebrate the rite with the bishops in the dioceses where they happen to be located.