Q. We do not have any catechumens this year, and therefore no scrutinies. How do we liturgically engage in the journey of the baptized candidates?
A. This is a common question. Because there are few Lenten preparation rites for the baptized candidates in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, we can tend to think that there is not much going on for them liturgically in this season. However, if we think of the candidates more as members of the baptismal priesthood and less like catechumens, we will discover a treasury of resources. Here some to consider.
This should be the primary liturgical event for the baptized candidates during Lent. Note that even if you have no catechumens and you are not celebrating the scrutinies, you can still use the Year A readings for the Third, Fourth, and Fifth Sundays of Lent, even if we are not in Year A (see Lectionary for Sunday Mass, “Introduction,” 97).
Rite of Penance / Parish reconciliation service
The baptized candidates can all participate in the sacrament of reconciliation.
Presentation of the Creed and Lord’s Prayer
You won’t celebrate these rituals with all baptized candidates. If they have prayed the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer in the traditions they were raised in, it would not be appropriate to “present” them now. But for those who have not prayed them before, you could celebrate these rites.
Morning and Evening Prayer, celebrated in the parish, in the home, or via video conferencing. Use some of the penitential psalms.
Liturgy of the Word services, celebrated in the parish, in the home, or via video conferencing. Use the gospels from the Third, Fourth, and Fifth Sundays of Lent from Year A.
Sacramentals and devotions
- Stations of the Cross
- Reception of Ashes
- Communal or individual recitation of the Rosary
- Alms giving
From the Book of Blessings
- Blessing of a Family
- Blessing before and after Meals
- Blessing of Images of the Saints
- Blessing of Religious Articles
- Blessing of Rosaries
- Blessing of St. Joseph’s Table (March 19)
From Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers
- Penance and Reconciliation
- At Bedtime
- Scriptures to read during Holy Week
- Scriptures to read for anger
- Scriptures to read for forgiveness
- Scriptures to read for discernment
How are you connecting the baptized candidates with opportunities in your congregation during Lent? What aren’t you doing yet that you hope to? Share your thoughts in the comments below.