A Different Election
By: Keara Ette
It is hard for me not to wince when I hear the word “election” these days. Now, I am not typically a pessimist, but I find myself incredibly frustrated with the long, wearisome process that is our presidential election “season” in this country, and if I am not careful it affects my whole attitude about the political process. The fact is, we are forced to endure (or ignore) a years-long marathon of self-promotion, attacking the character and integrity of others, and truth stretching … all to have the opportunity to “serve” in one of the most critical roles in our country’s leadership. I guess I just wonder if the whole thing brings out some of the worst in people – both those vying for the position and those of us whose votes they covet.
All of this is why I am actually sort of grateful that in these early weeks of Lent, Catholic communities all over the country are gifted with a ritual that rewrites that ‘election’ narrative. For it is during these weeks that we are celebrating an “election” that takes place at the hands of the One whose motivation is nothing other than pure and divine love and gift. God is the one who takes hold here, and elects – claims and welcomes – the women and men who have been on a journey of discernment, faith, formation, and prayer these past months and years. God calls them into full participation in the life of the church: a church which continues to need the signs life and hope, signs of courage and faith, signs of mercy and joy that they are for us. Thus we are both the witnesses to God’s choice and the recipients of these gifts of the “elect” who will spend the next ‘40 days’ preparing in heart, mind, and spirit for the celebration of the Resurrection in the Easter Sacraments of baptism, confirmation and eucharist.
This weekend, Old St. Pat’s sends our nine catechumens (AJ, Alicia, Matt, Stephanie, Joanne, Tracey, Angela, Jennifer, and Taylor) along with our 24 already-baptized candidates for Full Communion and completion of initiation to Holy Name Cathedral where they will be received by Archbishop Cupich and welcomed into the community of the ‘elect.’ They will be called by name and will stand in the sanctuary of the cathedral with hundreds of other individuals from parishes all over Cook and Lake counties. Our RCIA Team of over 25 Old St. Pat’s member-volunteers will be there on Sunday to represent our larger Old St. Pat’s community in presenting these folks to the archbishop, and we could not be more proud and more humbled by the opportunity to walk with our candidates and catechumens up to and through this special point in their journeys. Because these men and women are some of the core reminders of who we are and whose we are. We are, even when we don’t quite understand it, God’s beloved ones – called to bring life and love, hope and mercy, into a world that cries out for these things every day. Thank you…
AJ Altheimer, Allen Arnold, Joshua Arteaga, Heather Boehm, Michelle Brezek, Stephanie Chisti, Wayne Crooks, Calvin Deckinga, Kristin Gallas, Raul Garza, Allison Grow, Philip Guzman, Frances Harvey, Scott Henry, Brian Herbolich, Kyle Kennedy, Joanne Keung, Tracey Sebastian Konicek, Justine Lam, Angela Limburg, Sara Lippold, Matthew McLaughlin, Kristen Nicollerat, Ryan Stanton Orr, Ivan Rojas, Victoria Scheid, Betty Schmidt, Anne Sissel, Andrew Sissel, Victor Sowder, Alycia Laura Storr, Taylor Verdon, Jennifer White, Ashley Yttre
for setting us back on the right road this Lent and for reminding us that we need not spend so much energy looking for “the right candidate” to make things right in our country or our world. Because it is each of us, as chosen and beloved ones of God, who has been elected to do the critical work of bearing God, bearing mercy, bearing compassion, bearing generosity into our world.
Keara Ette is the Director of Faith Formation at Old St. Patrick’s Church.