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Bishop Peter to soon-to-be Catholics: ‘You are, right now, tremendous witnesses’

The following story appeared in the March 25 Idaho Catholic Register.

Bishop Peter Christensen shook hundreds of hands over the last few weeks, greeting all the catechumens and candidates from the Diocese of Boise who will enter the Church at the Easter liturgy. Above, he greets young people at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist. (Courtesy photo/St. John’s)


By Gene Fadness

Editor


BOISE – Bishop Peter Christensen told a packed Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist that catechumens and candidates preparing to enter the Church this Easter are an inspiration to all Catholics.


Even though they are not yet Catholic, “you are, right now, tremendous witnesses to those living the Catholic faith,” Bishop Peter said at the Rite of Election at the Cathedral on March 14.


The Rite of Election at the Cathedral was the final of six the Bishop conducted in each of the Diocese’s deaneries. Catechists and those about to be baptized and/or confirmed attend the Rite in their deanery. The catechists present to the Bishop the Book of the Elect, which is signed by all those to be baptized.


Bishop Peter conducted the Rite of Election in Idaho Falls on Jan. 24, in Coeur d’Alene on Feb. 21, in Lewiston on Feb. 24, in Twin Falls on March 5, in Weiser on March 9 and in Boise on March 14.


In conjunction with each of those stops, the Bishop celebrated Mass and Adoration on two nights surrounding the Rite of Election in neighboring parishes.


The Masses were conducted in conjunction with the Synod on Synodality taking place in the worldwide Church.


At those Masses, people received cards with three questions that they filled out after Adoration and then discussed at table gatherings during a social hour after Adoration and Mass.


At the Rite of Election at the Cathedral, the Bishop said between 800 and 1,000 will enter the Church in the Diocese of Boise this Easter.


More catechumens – those who have not been baptized – will enter the Church than candidates – those who have been baptized in another Chris-tian faith, but not confirmed. “That is a flip in the last 10 years,” he said, noting that up until about a decade ago, candidates typically outnumbered catechumens.


The Bishop commended the catechumens and candidates for choosing to follow the call of Christ rather than the allure of the world.


The Bishop referred to the reading for the Mass taken from Matthew 4 where Jesus is tempted to turn stones into bread, to throw himself down from the parapet of the temple so that angels will rescue him and to receive the kingdoms of this world if he would worship Satan.


Jesus is tempted to give in to pride, the Bishop said. That temptation continues to this day in a world in which people want to follow a god of their own making, the Bishop said. “To be a worshipping people is to know we need to bend the knee to a higher power and that power is God,” the Bishop said.


The new Catholics will need the community provided by the Church to aid them in their faith journey, the Bishop said. He noted the common refrain of some is to say they can worship God alone in the woods. “That is true, but you still need the family, the community of the Church,” to thrive in the faith, he said.


The Bishop said he didn’t know all the reasons why each one present has chosen to enter the Church, “but I do know that there was probably someone who has been a witness of the Catholic faith, prompting you to choose the same,” he said, illustrating the power of community. “I’m grateful for those witnesses,” he said.


“I also know that you will experience more temptations,” even after coming into the Church. “But, remember, the Lord is always there,” even in the midst of temptation, he said.


Idaho’s catechumens and candidates will join hundreds of thousands of others who will come into the Church throughout the world at the Easter Vigil Mass that begins after sundown on April 16.


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