Places, postures, and gestures in the RCIA Rite of Welcome

7 thoughts on “Places, postures, and gestures in the RCIA Rite of Welcome”

  1. At my parish we do celebrate a combined rite of acceptance and welcoming if we have unbaptized and baptized inquirers.

    The baptized candidates are always seated in the assembly. The unbaptized are standing at the doorway from the foyer into the main worship space. Our entrance procession starts from a different location. After bowing to the altar, the servers, deacon and presiding priest go to the foyer entrance, and the Rite of Acceptance starts at this point. Then the priest, deacon, servers and catechumens all process to the front of the church, as the final verse of the entrance hymn is sung.

    Here is my question. Should we sign the baptized candidates with the cross, as we do the catechumens?

  2. I am excited as this is the first year that I have several unbaptized, both children and adults. The children are so excited, they are both 9. The adults, no so. Since we are still in the inquiry sessions I asked what drew them to Catholicism, the answers were (from the adults) my friends are all Catholic. OK, which Mass do you go to (since I had just finished faith formation registration and hadn’t seen any of them at any of the Masses.) The answer, Easter…which I guess is a good start. When we talked again about Mass attendance, I was greeted with I just don’t get why you people are so into attending church every weekend. Obviously all the Catholic friends aren’t attending church either. I presented Sunday Mass as a weekly Easter. I still haven’t seen them in church. Any ideas on what to do? Should I stop my “kinder, gentler approach?”

  3. We celebrate the Rite of Welcoming with the Rite of Acceptance. All of the candidates are seated in the assembly at the start of mass. We have reserved pews for all the candidates and their families. We also have the catechumens seated in the assembly with their families in the reserved pews. As we begin the rites, we ensure that the catechumens are standing apart from those who are baptized. As the rites continue, the priest will first speak to all of the catechumens, asking them the appropriate questions. He then turns to the candidates to ask them their appropriate questions. The priest will then do all of the signing with the cross of the catechumens first. After completing signing of all catechumens, the priest will then sign all of the candidates. The priest always makes a clear distinction between the catechumens and the candidates. We have tried having the catechumens knock on the door from outside the church, but this seems to go unnoticed by the congregation. Perhaps we will try again and ask the priest to make it clear as to who is knocking and why.

  4. Regarding the first posting. Tell your all of your RCIA inquirers to come to mass at the same time every Sunday, including sponsors who should be coming with them or waiting for them at the church door. Reserve pews for all of your inquirers AND THEIR FAMILIES. Most will come, just keep reminding them.

  5. We at Sacred Heart celebrate a combined Rite of Welcome & Acceptance. But as has been said – the Candidates are already in church and after the priest has come in and begun, he moves to them asking their name, why they’ve come, etc as in the Rite. He’s very good about acknowledging their presence with us as they’re already part of the church by their baptism.

    Then the Catechumens ‘knock’ on the door and the priest comes back to acknowledge them, what they want, etc and then the signing happens. I think ‘some’ parishioners get it, but we do make a clear distinction. We do the Rites several times of the year – or when Precatechumens/ Candidates are ready.

  6. I think in the past 10 years we have used the combined Rites perhaps three times and they were all unusual circumstances, but we made the distinction very evident that the Candidates were already members of the faith community. Our practice is not to combine the Rites. We offer them whenever necessary throughout the year. For the most part I think our parishioners really get it.

    For the Rite of Welcome our Candidates are seated in reserved seats toward the front of the church. It is one of the few times we have them seated in reserve seats and as I am writing this I am wondering why we do that. Maybe for the next Rite we will try having them sit among the community. Haven’t really thought this through, but why not? Any other time we have them coming forth from the community. We encourage them to sit toward the front of the assembly. Sometimes I can see that they are becoming good Catholics because they are tending to sit toward the back!!

    Father is very clear that these Candidates are already one with us through Baptism. We do not always do the Rite of Welcome for Candidates, after all it is an optional Rtie. It depends on where they are at. Some are totally unchurched and benefit from the Rite of Welcome, others come from strong faith backgrounds and are received into the Church through the Profession of Faith after a short period of time, depending on their readiness.

  7. We celebrate a combined rite 3 times a year, and never during Advent,Lent or any other season. Always in ordinary time. The catechumens are outside with their sponsors; and before Mass, the candidates, sponsors,and team all gather around the crucifix in our meditation garden,for a Prayer before the rite. Mass begins as usual, and after the greeting, the Director goes through the explanatory rite (mentioned quite frequently in the book)with the congregation. All are invited to follow the priest, servers and RCIA team outside to greet those seeking initiation. Catechumens are set to one side and directly addressed by the priest. The Candidates are on the other side, also directly addressed separately. But I think we may be discussing the possibility of, in the future, having the candidates pre-seated and also follow us outside. Our church seats 800 and normally about 400 come outside. We return after the initial dialogue and introductions and resume the signing portion of the rite after the homily. This enables all 800 to witness this part. Our choirs all have the reponses and refrains rehearsed and the emcee’s and altar servers are all very familiar with the rite. It works well for our parish and as they always say: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

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