News around the diocese: Rite of Election coming up, Mission San Diego pastor retiring, Bishop to celebrate Mass for ‘World Day of the Sick’


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Rite of Election to Be Held as Three Liturgies
SAN DIEGO — The Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion is the annual liturgy where the diocesan bishop welcomes hundreds of catechumens and candidates from local parishes and affirms their readiness to receive the sacraments of initiation at the upcoming Easter Vigil.

As a concession to the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic, the celebration will not be held as one massive gathering, but like last year, as three separate liturgies. One will be celebrated on Saturday, March 5, at St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Imperial, and two others the following day at Good Shepherd Parish in Mira Mesa.

Collectively, more than 2,000 people are expected to attend.

“I am so grateful to the pastors, the RCIA coordinators and their teams for their dedication in journeying with the catechumens and candidates throughout this process, and more so during this critical time (of pandemic),” said Diocesan Chancellor Marioly Galván, who also directs the diocesan Office for Evangelization and Catechetical Ministry.

She noted that the Rite of Election is a ticketed event. Given the limited seating capacity, it is not open to the general public. However, the three liturgies will be livestreamed at and

Diocese Marks ‘World Day of the Sick’ with Mass
SAN DIEGO — Auxiliary Bishop John Dolan will celebrate a Mass in observance of World Day of the Sick.

The bilingual liturgy will take place at 10 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 12, at Good Shepherd Parish in Mira Mesa and will include the sacrament of the anointing of the sick, a blessing with Lourdes water and a special blessing for caregivers. A reception will follow.

The event, which was organized by the diocesan Office for Life, Peace and Justice and the Order of Malta, will also celebrate the “Caring for the Whole Person Initiative,” a project of California’s bishops and Catholic healthcare system that provides resources to parish leaders who have been called to serve the sick and dying.

In 1992, Pope St. John Paul II instituted the World Day of the Sick. Since 1993, it has been celebrated every February, tied to the Feb. 11 feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes.

In his message for this year’s World Day of the Sick, released by the Vatican on Jan. 4, Pope Francis wrote: “How many sick and elderly people are living at home and waiting for a visit! The ministry of consolation is a task for every baptized person, mindful of the word of Jesus; ‘I was sick, and you visited Me.’”

The World Day of the Sick Mass will be livestreamed.

For more information about the Mass, contact Maria Valencia at (858) 490-8323 or

‘40 Days for Life’ to Begin March 2
SAN DIEGO — The spring campaign for 40 Days for Life will run from March 2 through April 10.

It will be inaugurated with two Masses celebrated by Bishop Ramón Bejarano: 10:30 a.m., Sunday, Feb. 6, at St. Mary Parish in Escondido; and 10 a.m., Sunday, Feb. 13, at St. John of the Cross Parish in Lemon Grove.

Undertaken on the same dates in communities around the world, the 40 Days for Life campaign is an effort to protect the unborn through prayer and fasting, community outreach, and peaceful all-day vigils in front of abortion clinics.

The centerpiece of the campaign is a 40-day, round-the-clock prayer vigil on the public sidewalk outside of an abortion clinic. Locally, such vigils are taking place at several locations, including the College Area, downtown San Diego, Mira Mesa, El Cajon, Escondido, Vista, South Bay and the Imperial Valley.

Similar vigils will be happening in hundreds of cities throughout the world, including 50 locations in California this year. More than 20,000 babies have been saved and more than 100 abortion centers closed since 40 Days for Life started in 2007, according to the organization.

Learn more about 40 Days for Life and sign up for vigil hours at

Gala to Benefit Human Trafficking Survivors
SAN DIEGO — Children of the Immaculate Heart, a San Diego-based nonprofit that serves survivors of sex trafficking, will hold its eighth annual gala fundraiser.

It will be held from 6 to 9 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 19, at Our Mother of Confidence Parish.

The evening will include appetizers, Mediterranean cuisine, dessert, wine, beer, and a silent auction.

The master of ceremonies will be Christopher Check, president of Catholic Answers. Father Anthony Saroki, pastor of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish in Rancho Peñasquitos, will speak on the theme of “Setting Captives Free.” Attendees will also hear updates from Grace Williams, executive director, and from the staff and clients of Children of the Immaculate Heart.

Tickets are $75 per person. RSVP at or (619) 431-5537.

Upcoming Retreats Offer After-Abortion Healing
SAN DIEGO — Two upcoming retreats will offer healing from the emotional and spiritual pain of abortion.

Rachel’s Hope will be hosting an after-abortion healing retreat for Catholic and “Catholic-friendly” women, from Feb. 4 through Feb. 6, at the diocesan Pastoral Center. It will include a closing Mass. The cost to attend is $60 per person, but partial scholarships are available. For more information or to register, visit or contact Rosemary Benefield at (858) 581-3022 or

Catholic men and women wounded by abortion might also consider attending an upcoming retreat hosted by A Time for Mercy/Rachel’s Vineyard. The retreat will be held from March 11 through March 13. For more information or to sign up, visit, call (951) 325-7702 or email

Magnificat Speaker to Share Reversion Story
ESCONDIDO — North County Magnificat, a ministry to Catholic women, will hold its next quarterly breakfast on Saturday, Feb. 5, at St. Mary Parish in Escondido.

The breakfast will be from 9 a.m. to noon in the parish’s new hall. It will be preceded by an 8 a.m. Mass in the parish church.

The speaker will be Robin Saunders. Raised Catholic, Saunders drifted from the church as an adolescent. Her family stopped attending Mass and her life was soon marked by partying, promiscuity and materialism. In her talk, she will share how God led her back.

For the past 27 years, Saunders has raised six children with her husband, Mike, and has volunteered as a Catholic speaker, a catechist for RCIA, and an instructor of baptism classes.

Those interested in attending the Magnificat breakfast must register in advance. Tickets are $25 per person before Jan. 28 and $28 after.

For information and to register, visit or call (760) 271-7743.

Father Escalante Retiring in March
SAN DIEGO — Father Peter Escalante, pastor of Mission San Diego de Alcalá, will retire from active ministry on March 1, his 70th birthday.

Ordained to the priesthood on June 9, 1978, Father Escalante has been pastor of Mission San Diego since 2015. He previously served as pastor of St. Charles Borromeo, St. Brigid, Santa Sophia, St. Joseph Cathedral, and Immaculate Conception parishes.

In the 1980s, he also directed two diocesan offices — the Office for Vocations and the Office for Priests.

Catholics Invited to ‘Encounter’ with Jesus
SAN DIEGO — “Encounter,” a Spirit-filled evening of inspiring music, prayer and Eucharistic adoration, is held on the second Friday of each month at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish in Rancho Peñasquitos.

Sponsored by the parish’s Hearts of Fire Ministry, the event runs from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

The next meeting will be Feb. 11.

For more information, email

Are You a Catholic Mom Who Likes Catholic Books?
SAN DIEGO — The Moms’ Catholic Book Study, formerly known as the Moms’ Bible Study, has been going strong for more than 25 years.

In addition to spiritual reading, the group also offers fellowship and has produced long-lasting friendships.

The group meets at 10 a.m., every Wednesday during the school year, at St. Mary Magdalene Parish.

For more information, visit

Street Evangelization Brings Gospel to Public Square
SAN DIEGO — St. Paul Street Evangelization is a grassroots, nonprofit organization dedicated to taking the Gospel message to the streets.

Participants in the ministry do this in a non-confrontational way, allowing the Holy Spirit to move in the hearts of those who witness their public Catholic presence.

For more information or to get involved, visit, call (619) 515-3267 or email

CORRECTION: The brief on the 40 Days for Life campaign was revised on Feb. 14, 2022, most notably to correct the dates of the spring campaign.

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