The Archdiocesan annual service for enrolling and welcoming catechumens and candidates for full communion with the Church took place at St. Andrew’s Cathedral on 5 March. This is always such an encouraging and uplifting service when we come to witness people in our modern secular world publicly making their commitment to join the Church.

The catechumens and candidates (over 50 in number) were of all ages, young and old, and from a wide range of national and ethnic backgrounds. Archbishop Tartaglia, accompanied by many of the Parish Priests of the parishes involved, welcomed them and their families and friends to the service. He addressed them as a treasure for the Church. In an age which was not congenial to religious belief, it was inspiring that they as adults were taking this step. It was a work of grace, showing that God was active in them. The readings chosen for the service, the Archbishop reflected, centred on the confession of a truth, an encounter with Christ.

Catechumens with their sponsors

Christ has chosen you, he told those present, even as you have chosen him.

The Archdiocesan choir the St. Mungo Singers and Dr. Noel Donnelly provided the music for the liturgy, which included the Introit for Lent, Psalm 138, and selected hymns (fitting the service’s theme of calling – Here I am, Lord; Lord, You have come to the Seashore; We believe in God the Father) while the catechumens came forward to sign their names in the Book of the Elect and the candidates confirmed their desire to join in full communion with the Catholic Church.

The service finished with prayers of intercession for those present and the singing of the Canticle of Ezekiel “Hear Me, my People”. Then there was time for everyone to chat and celebrate this important event over refreshments in the Eyre Hall – and also get some selfies with the Archbishop as a souvenir!