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The Deacon's Bench

Do you know the way to San Jose? Just follow the dancers.

That’s how the Rite of Election is done in that California diocese.

A blogger for the diocese explains:

In our Diocese of San Jose, we have dancing books for the Rite of Election. Now hold on before you start groaning as you imagine young waifs in tights and leotards flitting about the altar.

Our Scriptural tradition has many stories of dancing–but the kind of dancing that comes out of ordinary, everyday people. David danced before the Lord, Miriam danced on the seashore, the women took up garlands and danced at Judith’s victory, and even John the Baptist did a little jig in his mother’s belly at the voice of Mary’s greeting.

And in our ritual, all of us dance–I mean, all of us, trained or not. When we dip our hand into the font, make the sign of the cross, bow low in reverence, raise arms in prayer, extend hands in peace and blessing, we are dancing. We are doing choreographed movement; we are expressing our faith, our joy, through our bodies.

This is what we do at our local Rite of Election, but just turned up a notch. The joy that our Rite of Election elicits–and the dancing that comes out of that joy–is often surprising for both the many long-time Catholics and “newbies” who come to our cathedral expecting a long, sober, restrained lenten ritual.

You’ll want to read the rest. It describes the whole thing. And check out a video of last year’s event, below. God love ’em all.

Rite of Election 2009 video, Diocese of San Jose (hi-res) from Diana Macalintal on Vimeo.