RBC 27-28: Adaptations by the Minister

Subheading VI details adaptations by the minister. These entail a careful look at two things: the preparation meetings (note the rite presumes more than one–a rarity, I’d say) and how to handle infant or young child baptism amidst the complexities of the Easter Vigil (remember, this was the first choice of time).

27. During meetings to prepare the parents for the baptism of their children, it is important that the instruction should be supported by prayer and religious rites. For this the various elements provided in the rite of baptism for the celebration of the word of God will prove helpful.

There’s a bit of reading between the lines on this one. First a principle I’ve seen repeated in many parish RCIA meetings: the integration of prayer and ritual in catechetical sessions. While many people speak colloquially of “baptism classes” and “RCIA classes,” the Church recognizes that catechesis alone is insufficient. What would be the main sort of “prayer and religious rites?” A liturgy of the Word, which I would presume would include a reading or two, and probably a sung psalm or alleluia.

28. When the baptism of children is celebrated as part of the Easter Vigil, the ritual should be arranged as follows:

  1. At a convenient time and place before the Easter Vigil the rite of receiving the children is celebrated. The liturgy of the word may be omitted at the end, according to circumstances, and the prayer of exorcism is said, followed by the anointing with oil of catechumens.
  2. The celebration of the sacrament (nos. 56-58, 60-63) takes place after the blessing of the water, as is indicated in the rite of the Easter Vigil.
  3. The assent of the celebrant and community (no. 59) is omitted, as are the presentation of the lighted candle (no. 64) and the ephphetha rite (no. 65).

The conclusion of the rite (nos. 67-71) is omitted.

The rite doesn’t mention it explicitly, but there is a strong hint that Lent would be the time in which these preparatory rites would be celebrated. Lent would be not necessarily a time in which we forego baptizing infants as much as the Easter Vigil would be the time in which we would steer families to celebrate their young children’s entrance into the Church.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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