Looking again at why RCIA dismissal is important

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10 thoughts on “Looking again at why RCIA dismissal is important”

  1. Michael McDonald

    Maybe it’s a dynamic of the Florida community my parish is in, but it seems that we usually only get one or two catechumens and at least a half dozen to a dozen candidates in our yearly program. It seemed very strange and uncomfortable to dismiss only the one or two catechumens every Sunday, so a few years ago we started allowing the candidates to be voluntarily dismissed to support and enrich the experience of breaking open The Word for themselives and the catechumens. Is this liturgically incorrect?

  2. Good Day, Wow this sent a nervous shiver up and down my spine. As a 3 year RCIA Neophyte Catholic this process and journey of Dismissal is a very recent memory. Blessed by my fabulous RCIA Teachers, my confidence was built week after week until the first moments of dismissing. This was tough on some occasions. Why do I have to leave? Redundant in asking I knew why from my teachers and that prepared me. We (5) Candidates sometimes awkwardly lined up at the Altar week after week. A Teacher would stand behind us if alone. This Altar thru The Church walk prepared me for the 3 Scrutinies to come. Leaving my Catholic Wife behind at The MASS was tough like nights before our Wedding I was missing my Bride to be. Sometimes I said jokingly I’m going to a Baptist meet and greet for coffee. Of course I stayed and worked on the muscles of Catechesis and Prayer on to Conversion.
    Now at 3 years Confirmed “statistics say” New Catholics often fall away. For me now I’m a 3rd year RCIA Team Volunteer.
    I am Blessed and that’s why I’ve missed only 3 Sunday’s over almost 4 years. May God Bless All Parish RCIA’s Worldwide and Thank You for your Evangelizations.

    Christopher Michael Shields
    Our Lady Comforter of The Afflicted

  3. Hi Michael, you raise a valid point on the reasons we often want to dismiss candidates with catechumens. As RCIA practitioners we have many opportunities to provide catechetical moments for not only our catechumens and candidates, but also for our parishioners. The weekly dismissal of catechumens is such an opportunity. But to make it catechetical foe everyone we in RCIA teams need to understand why the Church sees a difference between catechumens and candidates. Sadly, over many centuries, the Church lost focus on the fact that baptism ordains all of us into the royal priesthood (1 Peter 2: 9). For many centuries the baptised were led to believe that this “royal priesthood” was the preserve of the presbyters. However, at the discussions of Vatican II, the Church again reaffirmed that all the baptised are ordained into a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a people set apart with the responsibility to sing the praises of God. Vatican II also reaffirmed that the highest thing we can do as a baptised Christian is to pray the Eucharistic Prayer (again this prayer is not exclusive to the presider). In fact, prior to Vatican II some may remember that the Mass was divided into two parts: (no, not liturgy of the Word and liturgy of the Eucharist, that description comes out of Vat II) The Mass of Catechumens and Mass of the Eucharist. The catechumens were asked to leave at the end of the Mass of Catechumens, that is, be dismissed and only the baptised could remain for the Mass of the Eucharist.
    So if we dismiss candidates with catechumens we do two things: we deny them their baptismal right to pray the Eucharistic prayer, and we run the risk that the catechetical message we send the candidates and the rest of the parish community is that somehow their baptism is not as good or valid as ours.
    Please don’t confuse the fact that candidates need catechetical instruction to prepare them for their reception into the full communion of the Catholic Church, but the focus and nature of that instruction must recognize that, like you and I, they are already members of the royal priesthood.

  4. I very much appreciate all the comments and clarifications on dismissing only the unbaptized. There’s something which concerned me, though, with how the question for this segment was posed, “Why dismiss the catechumens before Jesus becomes present?”

    Jesus is already present in the gathering of the assembly, and Jesus is present in the proclamation and hearing of the word. I believe we’ve never really been able to regain that sense of multiple presence to which the Second Vatican Council directed our attention. We dismiss catechumens prior to the Profession of Faith, because the catechumens are not yet baptized, so not yet fully part of the faithful. The already baptized candidates ARE part of the faithful, but not yet in full communion. Catechumens are on a journey first to the font. Candidates are on a journey to the table.

    1. Hi Rick. Thanks for your comment. I think your insights are spot on. I posed the question as it is often posed to me, and then I answered it using many of the same points that you did. Blessings on your ministry. Thanks for your dedication.

  5. Hello! Our parish has not dismissed the entire period I’ve been the RCIA coordinator. After meeting with all the inquirers preparing for our 1st Rite of Acceptance and Welcoming, I’ve seen the need to afford that special time alone together as catechumens, so they will feel freer to share. We have a lovely group of 5 unbaptized adults, and they shared they were intimidated to speak in the full group, as they feel lacking in knowledge. After sharing this with my pastor, and recommending we dismiss, he was agreeable. Thanks to all for this thread on what dismissal is about.
    Question: Is there a ru rid for the ritual dismissing the catechumens? I’m not finding the “how it’s done”. Thank you for your help!
    Peace,
    Lee Hulburt
    Saint Brigid Parish

    1. Diana Macalintal

      Hi, Lee! That is great that your parish will begin implementing the dismissal of catechumens. You can find the “how it’s done” rubrics in the rite, paragraph 67. This is the dismissal that happens at the end of the Rite of Acceptance and is the model for how you would dismiss catechumens whenever they are present for Mass. Also we’ve put together a few video posts just on the Rite of Acceptance here and will be adding more posts to this playlist: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLJ0z7Z2YgQEo7tEODn5fT4wctafElWd62

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