PCS 285-291: Liturgy of Christian Initiation

When we get to the examinatino of RCIA, we’ll look at the full adult initiation rites thoroughly. The emergency rites in the PCS date between the provisional first edition of RCIA (the brown book, 1972) and the current rite (1988)–remember the PCS dates to the early 80’s.

Initiation on the death bed is straightforward. PCS 285 asks the sick person to reject Satan, his works and his empty promises. A profession of faith follows (286). Choice one: the baptismal profession (PCS 190) made at viaticum, the question and answer format. Choice two: the Apostles’ Creed. Baptism immediately follows (287) with the Trinitarian formula, no prior questions.

A priest or deacon anoints if confirmation will not be following (288). The following invitation is offered if neither confirmation or viaticum will be celebrated. I would imagine a lay person would lead this if she or he did not bring the Eucharist:

N., God our Father has freed you from your sins, has given you a new birth, and made you his son/daughter in Christ. Soon, God willing, you will receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit through confirmation, and will approach the altar of God to share the food of life at the table of his sacrifice. In the spirit of that adoption which you have received today, join us now in praying as our Lord himself taught us …

And the Lord’s Prayer follows, prayed by all. Note the balanced description of the Eucharist: meal and sacrifice.

PCS 290 gives the ritual for confirmation. There is a brief instruction or introduction. In turn, there follows a period of silent prayer, the laying on of hands, a prayer over the candidate, then anointing and the exchange of peace. This is as given in the Rite of Confirmation (introduction blogged here) sections 54-56. One final section:

291. In case of necessity, it is enough to anoint with chrism, while saying the words: “N., be sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit.” If possible, the priest should first lay hands upon the sick person with the prayer: “All-powerful God.” After confirmation, viaticum, if possible, should be given to the neophyte. Otherwise, the celebration ends with the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer by all present.

It would seem a curious thing or unusual event if a priest were prepared to celebrate confirmation, but not viaticum. That prayer referenced, “All-powerful God,” is the text of the prayer that occurs after the laying on of hands and before the sacramental anointing.

Any comments?

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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.
This entry was posted in Pastoral Care of the Sick, post-conciliar liturgy documents, Rites. Bookmark the permalink.

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