More than 130 individuals declared their desire to come into full communion with the Catholic Church March 1 as they participated in the Rite of Recognition and the Call to Continuing Conversion at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Syracuse.

The rite recognizes individuals, called candidates, who will complete their Christian initiation at the Easter Vigil with the reception of the Sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist. Candidates have previously been baptized in other faiths.

In his homily, Bishop Robert J. Cunningham reflected on the candidates’ calls to the Catholic Church and asked them to do the same.

“In the final days leading to the Easter Vigil, I encourage you to consider not only the choice you are making to enter fully into the life of the Church, but above all, God’s choice of you. He loves each of you individually, holds you in the palm of his hand and is able to call you by name,” he said.

Bishop Cunningham also reminded the candidates and all those gathered that the journey of faith is ongoing and that the faithful “are called daily to grow in your knowledge of Christ, to live your faith as worthy disciples of Jesus and to share the priceless gift of faith with others.”

Candidate Tina Selig, from All Saints Parish in Syracuse, shared her journey with the congregation. Raised by a Catholic mother and a Protestant father, Selig was baptized Protestant and also came to know the Catholic Church. “As I continued to grow I seemed to always want to become Catholic,” she recalled.

More than 15 years ago, she first inquired about the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) program. Nine years ago, relocated in a new state, she began a program, but with a newborn son was unable to complete the classes. When she moved to Syracuse this summer, she made sure to enroll in the fall RCIA program at All Saints.

“I feel at home and I’m excited to become part of the family,” Selig said. “I don’t ever regret growing up a Protestant Christian. My parents did a great job teaching me about the Bible and Jesus and instilling a love for the Lord in my heart. But I can only be even more overjoyed now, however, that Jesus gave me the gift of realizing that the Catholic Church is where he intended me to be.”

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