WASHINGTON, D.C.—Seven men and women affiliated with the United States Military, all based in the greater Washington area, celebrated the Rite of Election on Sunday, March 10, 2019, 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: Heath Lents of Marine Corps Base Quantico, Robin Gomez and Daniel Evan Pettenger of Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, and Frederick Little, Michael Niles, Amber Betancourt, and Casey Carruth of Fort Belvoir.
The Rite of Election is the penultimate milestone in a months-long process of catechetical instruction, prayer, spiritual practice, and liturgies for unbaptized adults committed to becoming Catholics. The ceremony, 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 Holy Communion.
Like other Catholic archdioceses and dioceses, the Archdiocese for the Military Services (AMS), USA, 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. Because all of the AMS’s Catechumens cannot gather in Washington, DC, to celebrate the Rite of Election with Archbishop Broglio, those outside the National Capital Region celebrate the rite with local diocesan bishops.