RCIA 18: Times for the Rite of Acceptance

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So what about the usual times for accepting people into the order of catechumens?

18. The following should be noted about the time of celebrating the rite of acceptance into the order of catechumens (RCIA nos. 41-74).

1. It should not be too early, but should be delayed until the candidates, according to their own dispositions and situation, have had sufficient time to conceive an initial faith and to show the first signs of conversion (RCIA 42)

2. In places where the number of candidates is smaller than usual, the rite of acceptance should be delayed until a group is formed that is sufficiently large for catechesis and the liturgical rites.

3. Two dates in the year, or three if necessary, are to be fixed as the usual times for carrying out this rite.

So much for the mindless practice of the First Sunday of Advent.

We’ve read earlier that the catechumenate is a gradual process (RCIA 4) and it may take several years (RCIA 7.2). So we can conclude that counting backward from the Rite of Election within a single year isn’t relevant. It is often discerned that appropriate moments during the liturgical year are good choices. I find ordinary time Sundays the best. All Saints Day is a good choice, too. I would aim for celebrating this rite just prior to Lent, too. with an eye to the following year’s Vigil. In my years of directing (four) a catechumenate and being the parish liturgist for it (seventeen) I’ve found that the Lent and Triduum observances inspire inquirers, especially in an open and welcoming parish. Some Sunday during the summer would be a good time for the rite of acceptance.

How many parishes out there still trying to cram a catechumenate into nine or ten weeks, like last year? Is that working, from what you see?

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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 post-conciliar liturgy documents, RCIA, Rites. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to RCIA 18: Times for the Rite of Acceptance

  1. Liam says:

    At St Paul’s in Cambridge, the Rite of Acceptance is typically celebrated on a Sunday in mid-October. Our candidates and catechumens are not forced into a single-year process, but in fact can take much longer. Our RCIA program is usually very active. I usually find that having an large and active RCIA program tends to keep a parish somewhat honest about how it goes about its spiritual and ritual practice, because it’s hard to be credible in RCIA if you try to pretend Catholic faith and practice are more a function of “how we do things here” (or, “well, we don’t really believe or emphasize that, and certainly understand if you don’t”) than how things are done in in the wider church, because those candidates and catechumens are going into that wider church at some point and you end up disserving them gravely.

  2. Luke says:

    How are you able to get inquirers involved and do things so far ahead of time? I was thinking of suggesting in our parish that the Rite of Acceptance be on January 11, 2015, (Baptism of the Lord) for an inquirer who will enter at the 2015 Easter Vigil. Is this too late? I don’t know why it should be so early considering the pre-catechumenate is the time when they’re figuring out if they are prepared to go through with it. Thanks.

    • Todd says:

      If the inquirer is unbaptized, it would seem your timetable is drastically small. Your period of catechumenate–catechesis–is only 5 weeks. Lent is not designed for catechesis as such, but moral and spiritual formation.

      The pre-catechumenate is the time for the inquirer to confirm their desire. The catechumenate is the period for the Church to decide *when* the seeker is ready.

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