RCIA 65-66: Intercessions for/Prayer over the Catechumens

img_6803After the optional presentation of a gospel book, a bible, or a cross, the rite moves to its conclusion.

65. Then the sponsors and the whole congregation join in the following or a similar formulary of intercession for the catechumens.

I won’t reproduce the seven intercessions here. Just know that the rite gives the option for parishes to compose their own. If the Rite of Acceptance is celebrated at Mass, the general intercessions which are to come later may be omitted. If they are, two petitions, one for the Church, and one for the whole world, are added to the prayers for the catechumens.

Instead of a “concluding prayer” for the intercessions, two options are given in the rite, one of which is to be used. Here’s option A:

(God of our forebears and) God of all creation,
we ask you to look favorably on your servants N. and N.;
make them fervent in spirit,
joyful in hope,
and always ready to serve your name.

Lead them, Lord, to the baptism of new birth,
so that, living a fruitful life in the company of your faithful,
they may receive the eternal reward that you promise.

We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord.

These prayers are often illustrative of the key aims of the catechesis and formation for the sacraments. This prayer, as one example, emphasizes three qualities to cultivate in newcomers: fervor, hope, and a readiness to serve. It also emphasizes the post-baptismal life, a life that we hope and pray will bear fruit in service and in a loving example for others. Thus the faith continues to be handed on to others.

Option B speaks of a petition that, “in time they may assume the full likeness of Christ.” The imitation of Christ is a time-honored aspiration. If that has been touched upon in the initial inquiry meetings, option B might be a better choice for the rite. Let me suggest that the choice of these prayers shouldn’t be so much about the priest’s or liturgist’s preference, but what qualities are in need among the catechumens. It should also go without saying that composed prayers should be crafted not only for the composer’s aesthetic sensibility, but also for true and actual need. The input of the catechumenate ministry should be considered, if one wants to celebrate these liturgies most fully.

Next post: Dismissal, but meanwhile, 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.
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