Can RCIA seekers celebrate their sacraments outside of the Easter Vigil?

6 thoughts on “Can RCIA seekers celebrate their sacraments outside of the Easter Vigil?”

  1. In addition to the Sundays of Ordinary Time and the Easter Season, I think the first two Sundays of Advent could also be appropriate days to receive someone into full communion, especially if there was some circumstance preventing such a reception in the weeks leading up to Advent. While perhaps not an ideal time, there are readings for those Sundays in each of the 3 cycles that offer fitting homily points for such a reception. It would have the advantage for the candidate of being a full participant in the Christmas celebrations, rather than waiting until after that Season is done.

    We have had a year-round RCIA process in place for several years, and I was the Coordinator in another parish in the late 1980s when we transitioned to year-round. I find it to be the most natural, responsive way to accompany the seekers on their faith journey. It’s not as “neat” or easy, but it is more authentic, I believe.

  2. Aurora Sarmiento

    You always say that the Catechumenate should be at least a year, but isn’t it true that most parishes start in September and initiations are held the following Easter Vigil – clearly less than a year?

    1. Hi Aurora,

      When we say the catechumenate should be at least one full liturgical year, we are restating church teaching:

      Ordinarily [the period of the catechumenate] should go from at least the Easter season of one year until the next; preferably it should begin before Lent in one year and extend until Easter of the following year. (National Statutes for the Catechumenate, 6)

      It is true that many parishes have inappropriately adapted the full catechumenate into a school-year timeframe, but this does not reflect the vision of the rite or the tradition of the church. In fact, a recent statement from the Vatican called the school-year model a “chokehold” on the initiation process. https://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/en/bollettino/pubblico/2020/06/25/200625c.html#

      If you want to learn more about the reason the church teaches that a continuous, ongoing initiation process is the norm, these are the articles we have written on the subject:
      https://teamrcia.com/tag/year-round/

      I hope that helps.

  3. Juliann Stephen

    We need suggestions on how to convince our pastor to get out of “the chokehold” if a school year model for our RCIA ministry at our parish.

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