Third Period: Purification and Enlightenment

When the catechumens and candidates are ready to make a formal request for the sacraments of initiation, and when the catechists and godparents are ready to recommend them to the bishop and to the parish community for full membership, the Rite of Election is celebrated. This celebration is generally held on the first Sunday of Lent. The Rite of Election marks the beginning of the period of Purification and Enlightenment, the time of immediate preparation for invitation or full reception at the Easter Vigil.

The beginning of Lent signals a forty-day "retreat" in which the parish joins the elect in preparing for the mysteries celebrated at the Easter Vigil. The RCIA sessions are marked by increased emphasis on prayer and the interior life, rather than on accumulation of knowledge. Many parishes allow time for a day of prayer especially designed for the elect and their supporters. 

On the third, fourth, and fifth Sundays of Lent, the Scrutinies are celebrated during the liturgy. These rites are prayers of healing in which the elect, as well as the faithful, are reminded that everyone needs continued healing, conversion, and reconciliation.1

The Rite of Election

Please click on the following link for the text of the Rite of Election: 

The Rite of Election

The Scrutinies

Please click on the following link for the text for each of the Scrutinies: 

First Scrutiny

Second Scrutiny

Third Scrutiny

Purification and Enlightenment, Journey of Faith, The Leaders Guide, Inquiry, Liguori Publications 2016, p. 7.


Period of Inquiry

Rite of Acceptance (Catechumens)

Rite of Welcoming


Rite of Election

Purification and Enlightenment

The Scrutinies

Easter Vigil



Becoming Catholic