A powerful conversion process for baptized candidates in the RCIA

8 thoughts on “A powerful conversion process for baptized candidates in the RCIA”

  1. Great thoughts.
    I’ve resigned to generally dismissing our candidates, though I know it isn’t by the book.
    In thinking of having only the catechumens dismissed and then gathering the candidates and catechumens together for a session of “Breaking Open the Word” following Mass, what specifically should the catechumens do in the half-hour between dismissal and the formal gathering?
    Personal prayer? Journaling? Drink coffee and chat about the homily? Should this be supervised by a member of our team, or let our team member finish Mass?
    Thanks for the ideas and sharings.

  2. Hi Dominic,

    I’d say any of the above are fine. Right now, our (two) catechumens are drinking coffee and chatting after they are dismissed. No team member present. Then we join them after Mass.

  3. I am assuming these two catechemens are adults if you are leaving them alone. We are dismissing two adult and around 20 children catechumens each Sunday along with our uncatechized candidates. Having the children wait for the one or two child candidates to Break Open the Word after mass would just not work for us. While I understand the theology of what you are saying, I think there is enough value in dismissing the candidates that much more thought needs to go into this before instituting a policy of only catechumens are dismissed. I would be interested in why Canada does dismiss some candidates.

  4. Why is the “priestly” participation of the Catechumens different during the Liturgy of the Word? If their dissmissal is because their prayers is not effective. Wouldn’t their responses at the beginning of Mass be a problem as well? What’s the difference?

    1. Hi Leon. The catechumens do not yet share in the priestly vocation of the People of God because they are not yet baptized.

  5. Hi Nick, Thank you for this great site. I love your reasoning in this article. I’m a baptized Methodist married to a Catholic, just beginning RCIA in a very small group. At this point the leader refers to everyone as catechumens, whether baptized or not. In my case I’ve been attending mass every Sunday for a long period of time. I made a covenant with God when I decided to join my husband in regular attendance. The first dismissal will be coming up in a few weeks. My heart knows I should continue to stay for the whole mass, alongside my husband as one of the faithful, making use of my gifts. In the article you stated that “Protestants married to Catholics who are not in the RCIA are not dismissed”. Is there official citation of that in the RCIA manual or elsewhere?

    1. Hi Rosalyn. Here you go:

      Those who have already been baptized in another Church or ecclesial community should not be treated as catechumens or so designated. Their doctrinal and spiritual preparation for reception into full Catholic communion should be determined according to the individual case, that is, it should depend on the extent to which the baptized person has led a Christian life within a community of faith and been appropriately catechized to deepen his or her inner adherence to the Church. (National Statutes for the Catechumenate, 30)

      And:

      Those who have been baptized but have relatively little Christian upbringing may participate in the elements of catechumenal formation so far as necessary and appropriate, but should not take part in rites intended for the unbaptized catechumens. (National Statutes for the Catechumenate, 31)

      The National Statutes are an appendix to the RCIA text. Also note that in the Rite of Welcoming the Candidates, the candidates are not dismissed at the end of the rite.

      Just as an aside, that rite would not be appropriate for you. It is only for uncatechized baptized candidates (see RCIA 400). I only cite it to point out that even uncatechized candidates, who have no understanding of the Mass or of Christian living, still remain for the entire liturgy because of the dignity of their baptism and their membership in the order of the faithful.

      1. Thank you, Nick! I’m most grateful to have this material at my fingertips. I’m trying to decide if I should email it to the director or print it and leave it on the table anonymously at meetings. It’s a relief to have this support. And as you mentioned, (as in my case) “all catechesis is post- baptismal”. This helps me put my catechesis in the right context. The RCIA director also refers to us as “converts”, which seems off the mark because I’m already Christian.

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