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What are the Scrutinies?

Scrutinies are special rites that are celebrated the third, fourth and fifth Sundays of Lent, at liturgies where the Elect are present. The Elect are RCIA members who have been approved by the bishop to be baptized.  They are celebrated for the Elect, but they also serve as an inspiration and source of renewal for the rest of us.

Scrutinies are meant to uncover, and then heal what is weak, defective, or sinful in the hearts of the Elect; to bring out and strengthen all that is upright, strong, and good.  They are celebrated in order to deliver the elect from the power of sin and Satan, to protect them against temptation, and to give them strength in Christ.

During Mass, after the homily, the Elect come forward with their sponsors and kneel down.  The entire assembly is invited to pray for them in silence, asking God to protect them and heal them in the weeks ahead.  Then they pray out loud, asking that they might be freed from the power of the Evil One and protected on their journey.

The priest or deacon lays his hands on the head of each of the Elect in a solemn act of calling down the Spirit of Jesus to be with them and protect them.  The Elect are then dismissed to reflect upon the Word, the love of Christ, and the love of the deeply caring community.