RCIA 79: Rites of the Catechumenate Period

img_6803The text:

79. Among the rites belonging to the period of the catechumenate, then, celebrations of the word of God (RCIA 81-89) are foremost. The minor exorcisms (RCIA 90-94) and the blessings of the catechumens (RCIA 95-97) are ordinarily celebrated in conjunction with a celebration of the word. In addition, other rites may be celebrated to mark the passage of the catechumens from one level of catechesis to another: for example, an anointing of the catechumens may be celebrated (RCIA 98-103) and the presentations of the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer may be anticipated (see RCIA 104-105).

These rituals take place most often outside of the seeing eyes of the parish at large. We’ll look at the celebration of the word in detail when we examine sections 81-89. Suffice it to say that a simple Bible reading doesn’t quite do justice to the concept. The intention is to develop a liturgical pattern for the catechumens. My sense is that a weekly celebration of the word, probably in context of the mid-week or Sunday gathering of catechumens, is the best approach. Blessings, likewise, should be frequent. We’ll also look in some detail at the exorcisms, which are prescribed when the struggle of good and evil become profound or significant for one or more catechumens.

That these rituals are proper to the catechumenate period indicate they are part of the liturgical and spiritual formation of newcomers to Christianity. The patterns should adopt those of the Sunday Mass with a division of ministries, sung prayer, and in many cases, a setting suitable more to worship than to catechesis.

Any thoughts?

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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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