The symbolic importance of the RCIA dismissal

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1 thought on “The symbolic importance of the RCIA dismissal”

  1. (Msgr.) Andy Varga

    Dinosaurs like me remember a time when the last words we heard at Mass were “Ite. Missa est.”
    I’ve come to realize that the usual translation (“Go. The Mass is ended.”) does the words and the understanding of that moment considerable disservice. No problem with “Ite” (pronounced “ee-tay”); it’s the plural imperative: “Go!” But that imperative receives much more from the second part. (All of us who took Latin in high school: remember “mitto, mittere, misi, missus”?) “Missa est” becomes “is sent” but begs the question “Who or what is sent?” Answer: THE CHURCH!! You and I are SENT to live what we have celebrated and received! (“ecclesia” ‘s feminine gender requires the matching “missa” — a possible reminder that the Church is the “Bride of Christ” sent to serve?)

    The word “dismissal” continues to be used in the third typical edition of the “Roman Missal” and is problematic in our English-hearing ears, connoting something like “It’s over; you can go now.” Four forms of the dismissal are provided. The first one has a clue as what this is all about: “Go forth…” The second and third forms say it best: “Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.” and “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.”

    It’s about “missioning” — we’d probably do better understanding the moment as other Christian denominations do: our sending-forth to be Christ’s living Body in our world.

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