Despite scandals, over 1,000 British to become Catholic at Easter
WESTMINSTER, England, March 19, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Despite the clerical abuse and cover-up scandals that have rocked the Catholic Church, over 1,000 people in England and Wales are expected to join the Church this Easter.
The UK’s Tablet reported last week that 419 catechumens (converts awaiting baptism) and candidates (baptized Christians seeking to be received into the Church) participated in the Rite of Election in Westminster Cathedral in London on March 9 and 10. Representing the largest group of converts, they came from 93 parishes. In Birmingham, 181 candidates and catechumens participated in their diocesan Rite of Election. In Nottingham, there were 151; in Portsmouth, 115; in the Diocese of East Anglia, 62; in Clifton, 47; in Lancaster, 32; and in Middlesbrough, 23.
In addition to these English figures, 37 prospective Catholics took part in the Rites of Election held in Cardiff, Wales.
At Westminster Cathedral in London, Cardinal Vincent Nichols addressed the 200 catechumens and 219 candidates, saying: “These ceremonies are among the largest gatherings of people from parishes across the diocese who join me in giving thanks for the great work that God is carrying out in your lives.”
“We give thanks to God for the ways in which our parishes and diocesan family will be enriched by you, and we promise to continue to support you and your families with our prayers and the example of Christian life that you experience in our parish communities,” he continued.
In St. John’s Cathedral in Norwich, 30 catechumens and 32 candidates from across the Diocese of East Anglia gathered for their Rites of Election on Sunday, March 10.
In his homily, Bishop Alan Hopes told the prospective Catholics, “Today is a celebration of your hope and trust in Jesus Christ, to whom you turn for salvation. Today you are being elected, chosen, called to salvation. The Church rejoices with you as she numbers you amongst all those who have been called and chosen.”
“During Lent, together with the whole Church, you are being called to turn to the Lord. You are being called to deepen your commitment to Him and so grow in holiness. You are being called to become saints of God,” Hopes continued.
“This call is not just for special people, but for everyone. We are all called to become like Jesus Christ.”
The Catholic Church in Scotland, which is overseen by the Scottish Bishops’ Conference, expects to welcome dozens more into the fold this Easter. According to Peter Kearney, the director of Scotland’s Catholic Media Office, this year there are 57 catechumens and candidates for the Diocese of Glasgow and 22 for the Diocese of Motherwell.
The other Scottish dioceses had not yet responded to a request for information by press time.