As seekers of the faith journey toward the Easter Sacraments, the Church recognizes their journey of conversion through the celebration of various rites; the most notable being the Rite of Acceptance and the Rite of Election.
The full title - Rite of Acceptance into the Order of Catechumens - provides a hint to the significance of this ritual. Once the unbaptized participate in this rite, they become, "Joined to the Church ... part of the household of Christ" (RCIA 47). They receive a new title, and move from being an Inquirer to a Catechumen and their name is inscribed in the
Register of Catechumens
, along with the name of their sponsor.
Participation in this rite signifies to the community that the seekers are committed to their decision to join the Catholic Church, and expects, "the beginnings of the spiritual life and the fundamentals of Christian teaching have taken root in the candidates. There must be evidence of ... an initial conversion and intention to change their lives and to enter into a relationship with God in Christ." (RCIA 42)
Wow! That is beautiful and powerful!
- Does the "RCIA Programs" in your parish help foster that in our Inquirers, so that they are aware of their own conversions as they enter this rite?
- Does the way your parish celebrates the rite reflect the significance of what is happening in the lives of the Inquirers?
- Are we challenged as the gathered faithful to reflect on our own journeys of faith and consider to which "fundamentals of Christian teaching ... and intention to change [our] lives" we need to be recommitted?
Perhaps these are questions your RCIA Team could reflect on together.
Below, find a sample plan you could use with your catechumens (and candidates) prior to the celebration of the Rite of Acceptance. Make sure to adapt it to reflect the liturgical celebration that will occur at your parish, and use the dates that are appropriate for your parish calendar. If you use it, I would love your