Some Dos and Don’ts in the Rite of Acceptance into the Order of Catechumens

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9 thoughts on “Some Dos and Don’ts in the Rite of Acceptance into the Order of Catechumens”

  1. Rev. James Sauer

    After nearly 36 years of working with the RCIA in parishes and as Diocesan Director of the RCIA, I cannot disagree with you more about #9 in “things to avoid”. I find it inhospitable and rude to invite even the already baptized to remain for the Eucharistic feast if they are not able to dine with us. We would never do this in our homes when inviting guests; nor should it be done in the church. Just because they have been baptized in another christian tradition does not mean that they do not need to break open the Scriptures with the catechumens since conversion is ongoing. Baptism as infants (or even as adults) does not mean that “conversion to Christ” has taken place.

    1. William "Bill" Ramos

      I agree with you 99% Father (only taking issue with your words of “inhospitable” and “rude” as being a bit harsh). Here at St. Joseph – Old Mission San Jose in Fremont, in the Oakland, California Diocese, we offer our baptized a choice of staying for the Liturgy of the Eucharist or accompanying the Catechumens to break open the Word. 100% of the baptized choose to be with the Catechumens (“somos juntos” as their RCIA Family) because they say they are being fed at the Table of the Word. This underlies the fact that many of the baptized come to us uncatechized and thoroughly unfamiliar with scripture, it’s meaning and applicability to everyday life. If being fed through the Word of God satisfies their hunger, then, “who am I to judge!”

    2. Respectfully, Father, you couldn’t be more wrong!
      Candidates are not dismissed because the Catholic Church accepts and respects the validity of their Baptism, and recognizes them as fellow Christians. Please read the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, it does not have a dismissal for Candidates in it, only one for Catechumens. Also #83-2 makes no mention of Candidates, only Catechumens. Also, the Rite of Acceptance concludes with a dismissal #67, makes no mention of Candidates, only Catechumens. The Rite of Welcome concludes with a prayer over the Candidates, but no dismissal of them. Only a dismissal of the entire assembly or the Liturgy of the Eucharist following the Rite. If a baptized candidate wishes to join dismissal, he/she may go, but they are not dismissed. It isn’t a matter of whether or not you feel that a person has experienced a level of conversion, it is because of their valid, trinitarian baptism in another faith tradition that give them a right to stay with the other members of the Body of Christ, just like any baptized person in Mass.

      1. I agree with you Crysti. Baptism grants us the grace of becoming children of God and it allows and compels us to participate in mass even if we cannot participate in the eucharist. This is no different from any other baptized Christian who’s not in a position to receive Communion. Let’s remember that the baptized are obliged to attend mass every Sunday, but to receive Communion at least once a year as stated in the precepts of the Church.
        One that thing that stood out to me when I first came to the US was how almost everybody came forward to receive Communion while in my country of origin a lot of people remained seated since they felt they were not prepared to receive this sacrament.

  2. Thanks for this e-mail Nick. Since I have attended many of your workshops and read all your books, I can safely say we do “good practices”for our Rites of Acceptance and Welcome. I am retiring in spring, after we celebrate and initiate our catechumens presently journeying with us. Keep up the good work. I am “training”
    a new person to take my place and have promised to help them.
    Greetings to Dianna. God’s blessings.

  3. Great advice Team!!!

    I disagree with Rev. Sauer, i also think that the work of catechists (or priests) is critical in that phase. Teaching them to get ready and to understand why they are “not ready for Holy Communion” is vital for their re-journey towards seeing JESUS ALIVE at the Altar. Forms of bread and wine after consecration is not just a symbol but truly JESUS in all his SPLENDOR and BEAUTY. It is HEAVEN down in front of us. Wowww.

    Also as noted they are already at work by joining everyone in the Eucharistic Prayer and offering prayers for new candidates.

    Again, having JESUS in front of them ALIVE vs. heading out is more ever important to their faith.

    Thanks for the great work.
    God Bless
    MA

  4. Having been involved in RCIA since 1985, I agree with Fr. Sauer about dismissal for the previously baptized, however I present it as an invitation for them to gather in an intimate,prayerful setting to reflect with their brothers and sisters on what they just heard in the Liturgy of the Word. Most are eager to come, but for those who prefer to remain for the Liturgy of the Eucharist, I do not insist on dismissal.
    Terry Zobel

    1. Hi Reyes,

      The Rite of Acceptance replaces the opening rites of the Mass. So the Gloria is not sung and the Collect is not said. See RCIA 61.

      Nick

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