How to teach catechumens the meaning of liturgy

Photo credit: Jake Ingle | Unsplash.com

4 thoughts on “How to teach catechumens the meaning of liturgy”

  1. Nick, this post is very timely for me. This morning at Mass, my mind was slightly wandering off the great liturgical celebration with the Spirit prompting me to ponder “what is the best time to teach about the liturgy of the Mass within RCIA?” I was reflecting that I needed to seek the counsel of my fellow RCIA practitioners as to when they teach either inquirers and/or catechumens about the Mass and what they actually teach/discuss. I then come home to read your post.

    For some of our liturgy – RCIA rituals and Liturgy of the Hours, our catechumens can follow a “normal” mystagogical experience in that they can actually experience the ritual or liturgy and then discuss their experience of it and its impact on them because they have been able to experience full and active participation in that particular liturgy.

    However, when it comes to the Mass, assuming that any particular RCIA team is generally following the pathway of the Rite, this is not fully the case. During the precatechumenate period, an inquirer is exposed to the entire Mass (liturgy of Word and Liturgy of Eucharist), however is limited in their extent of full and active participation. Once in the catechumenate period, they are exposed mostly only to the Liturgy of the Word with a dismissal ritual. The next time they are exposed to a “full frontal encounter” with the Mass that has a massive impact on them is the Easter Vigil.

    This leads to my pondering at Mass this morning: How much explanation of the Liturgy of the Mass do we need to give an inquirer in the precatechumenate period to adequately prepare them for this period?

    Additionally, during the catechumenate period, as the catechumen becomes more skilled at a deeper participation and is more exposed to the depth of mystagogy in the Liturgy of the Word, do we need to redo an explanation of the Liturgy of the Mass to prepare them better for this period of their journey?

    Further, your post reinforces that effective catechetical process is centred (Ah yes, Aussi spelling!!) on full and active participation and the three elements of mystagogy. So perhaps there is a need to again redo the mystagogical experience of the Liturgy of the Mass (as distinct from doing a mystagogical session on the actual Easter Vigil Mass and its rituals) during the Easter season? This is in line with Pope Benedict XVI’s comments.

    To help me in my planning on this issue, I am keen to hear from others as to when you teach about the Liturgy of the Mass and how much detail do you give. Do you teach different aspects of the Mass at different stages of the RCIA journey?

    If you feel your response is too long or detailed to be fully expressed here, please give the forum a summary and then email me: mnorden at iprimus.com.au. with a more detailed response (Sorry, I’m not on Facebook yet (a long story) but will be joining to participate in the All-access members’ forum).

  2. My short response to this question would be: Inquirers don’t need to be participating in the whole liturgy yet. I would not discourage them or tell them not to attend, but really full, conscious and active participation is almost impossible for them at this stage. The liturgy compels many of us to be part of it-and this is how many people come to the Church-but I would not be urging them to attend mass on a regular basis until we have place for them in the Order of Catechumens. I know many people will not accept them as catechumens until they commit to mass attendance, but I prefer to present the liturgy as a call, a blessing and a privilege-not an obligation to people who cannot fully take it in at their stage of development.

  3. Deacon Dean Hermann

    Nick:

    Thanks so much. We’ve met . . . at one of “Beginnings and Beyond” workshop in Dallas years ago. I was administrator of St. Joseph Catholic Community in Arlington, and was able to bring six of our Team Members. My wife, Vicki, is coordinating the team for our parish. As Max Norden mentioned above, this is extremely timely for me, also, as I’m the catechist for the discussion on liturgy next week, and I was looking for something “new and exciting” for the group. Some of this is new, and with the help of the Holy Spirit I should be able to make it at least somewhat exciting.

    Thanks for all the wonderful work you and your bride are doing. We were very disappointed when the Forum was disbanded.

    In His Peace,

    St. Margaret Parish, Otsego, MI
    St. Mary’s Visitation Parish, Byron Center, MI

  4. I’ve never understood this. For me, God is most powerfully and intimately experienced in daily life and through through a life of prayer and discernment. Then the liturgy becomes a celebration of that experience of God. The relationship needs to come first.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Where can we send your free resource?
Where can we send your free resource?
Where can we send your free resource?
Where can we send your free resource?
Where can we send your free resource?
Where can we send your free resource?
Where can we send your free resource?
Where can we send your free resource?
Where can we send your free resource?
Where can we send your free resource?
Where can we send your free resource?
Enter your email address and click the button below to get started.
Where can we send your free resource?
Where can we send your free resource?
Where can we send your free resource?
Where can we send your free resource?
Where can we send your free resource?

Completely transform your RCIA inquiry process with five simple questions

Wednesday, December 7, 2022
11am PST / 2pm EST


"Five Inquiry Questions that Will Shape Your Seekers' Journey of Faith"

Where can we send your free sample?

Welcome to TeamRCIA!

Meet Rita!

Where can we send your free sample?

Be sure you are doing the catechumenate right!

Do your seekers disappear after Easter?
Learn how to form Christians for life.


"RCIA's Six Keys to Making Lifelong Disciples"

Sign up today!

Join over 20,000 subscribers

Enter your email address and click the button below to get started.

Free Training Resource: What to say instead of OCIA

Enter your email address and click the button below to get started.

Creating a Catechumenal CultureAn Amazing Vision
Shopping cart0
There are no products in the cart!
Continue shopping
0