Is it really necessary to dismiss the catechumens?

4 thoughts on “Is it really necessary to dismiss the catechumens?”

  1. Thank you for addressing this. Our new pastor has forbidden the dismissal because he thinks it’s “inhospitable.” We have been doing dismissals for nearly 40 years and both the catechumens and the assembly understand why. I intend to share your article with our pastor. Please pray for us.

  2. Thank you for the enlightenment and references to church documents. Our parish has just started to carry out dismissals this year even though we have had RCIA for more than 30years. And the priestly people also ask the question..why dismissal?’
    Thank you

  3. The theory for dismissal is beautiful. Yet I feel uncomfortable with it because it feels anachronistic. Dismissal of catechumens was practiced in the Church at a time when only the baptized were allowed to be present at the Mass, mainly to prevent infiltration of pagans during times of persecution. But then churches were built and the doors were open for anyone to come in and be present during the Holy Sacrifice. Most of the catechumens that I have had the privilege to introduce into the faith have been coming to Mass for a while, either with their spouses or alone. I don’t see the logic of telling someone who has been coming to Mass for five to seven years or more, that “now that you are a catechumen you can’t be present at the Eucharist”. Now, if we were to go back to the days of not allowing into church non-baptized people, then restoring what was once called the Mass of the Catechumens , and their subsequent dismissal, would make sense.

  4. Our parish is small, with only one Sunday Mass. We often have no catechumen, and for the occasional year when we have one, it’s usually only one. It seems unreasonable for that person to be dismissed alone [with whom would that person “share their joy and their spiritual experience” (OCIA 67a)?]. The RCIA Team and sponsors are fulfilling their priestly role during the Liturgy of the Eucharist! And when we have a catechumen, that person is usually at Mass with family, often including small children. Rather than leave the Catholic parent to deal alone with the kids, or to leave the catechumen to reflect alone on the Liturgy of the Word, we forgo the dismissal. Several years ago, when we had more RCIA participants — and were improperly dismissing those preparing to be received into full communion — we had more Sunday Masses and could readily handle the dismissal, and would do so if circumstances change in the future. I think the situation has to be handled with an appropriately pastoral concern for the people involved. I think the dismissal of catechumens can be a solid witness to the community and a real benefit when there are enough catechumens (and Masses) to make it feasible.

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