PORTLAND — Catechumens and candidates will participate in the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion celebrations on March 5-6, the first weekend of Lent, in Presque Isle, Winslow, and Portland (schedule below). Bishop Robert Deeley will celebrate all three Masses.

During this year’s Rite of Election, around 80 catechumens (those who have not been baptized in any Christian faith tradition) will publicly express their desire for baptism to the bishop, the highest total since 2008. Their names are recorded in the Book of the Elect, a designation which reflects that the bishop, in the name of the Lord and the local Church, is choosing or electing them to share in the Easter sacraments. Candidates (those who were baptized in another Christian faith tradition) celebrate the Call to Continuing Conversion by professing their faith in and coming into full communion with the Catholic Church.

At the Masses, parishes present the catechumens and the candidates to the bishop and the congregation. The catechumens and candidates affirm their desire to enter fully into the life of Christ through the Catholic Church. Godparents and sponsors are then asked by the bishop to affirm that the catechumens and candidates are sufficiently prepared to continue their journeys of faith. The congregation, along with the godparents and sponsors, follow this testimony by pledging their support and prayers for those in preparation. Here is the schedule:

Presque Isle
Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church
331 Main Street
Saturday, March 5, 4 p.m.

In person and livestreamed


St. John the Baptist Church
26 Monument Street
Sunday, March 6, 10:30 a.m.
In person

Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
307 Congress Street
Sunday, March 6, 5 p.m.
In person and livestreamed

After the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion, the catechumens and candidates will spend the season of Lent reflecting and preparing to be welcomed into the Church at Easter. The days of Lent are the final period of purification and enlightenment for catechumens and candidates, marked by prayer and study, and spiritual guidance from the priests and parish teams with whom they work.

The Celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation takes place during the Easter Vigil, held on Holy Saturday (April 16). The catechumens receive the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and the Holy Eucharist, while the candidates complete their initiation by receiving the sacraments of Confirmation and the Holy Eucharist.  

A special section has been created on the Diocese of Portland’s website featuring resources to assist Catholics during their Lenten journey, including Mass times, special event listings, a Lenten calendar, faith formation and Scripture reflections, retreat information, ways to share their gifts, and Lenten messages from Pope Francis. To visit the site, which will be updated throughout Lent, visit www.portlanddiocese.org/lent-resources.