RCIA 106-107: Sending

img_6803RCIA gives an optional rite as Lent approaches: a public rite in the parish in which the catechumens are sent to the Rite of Election. The rite envisions the bishop’s role at the commencement of the period of purification and enlightenment. Lent, in other words. Once the catechumens are deemed “ready” for baptism, the bishop receives the testimony of sponsors and others, and endorses their moving forward with an intensive time of preparation.

106. At the conclusion of the period of the catechumenate, a rite of sending the catechumens to their election by the bishop may be celebrated in parishes wherever this seems beneficial or desirable. When election will take place in the parish, this rite is not used.

Let’s review the meaning and purpose of these rites that begin the period of Lent:

107. As the focal point of the Church’s concern for the catechumens, admission to election belongs to the bishop who is usually its presiding celebrant. It is within the parish community, however, that the preliminary judgment is made concerning the catechumens’ state of formation and progress.

The bishop will accept the endorsement of the local pastor and parish, but is not directly responsible for their formation. Except, perhaps, in the cathedral parish.

Why is a parish rite necessary? Remember, it is optional. It also serves the function of what liturgy is: a celebration of grace that, in part, is already a reality. If the community has done its task of forming, guiding, and welcoming catechumens, then the rite of “Sending of the Catechumens for Election” will be one of the prime liturgical moments in parish life:

This rite offers that local community the opportunity to express its approval of the catechumens and to send them forth to the celebration of election assured of the parish’s care and support.

If not, it may be just another hoop for newcomers and an extra few minutes for the parish Sunday worshipers. But hopefully in your parishes and mine, it is not.

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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 106-107: Sending

  1. Rebecca says:

    As a recent catechuman I found this addition meaningful — it was another reminder that I was joining a community in the parish, not just the Church as a whole. On a practical level, I think it cemented me as a newcomer in people’s minds (so many congratulated me, etc.) and reminded the congregation of its place in the Diocese.

  2. tony says:

    I have lots of information of how the Rite may be celebrated but I can’t find anywhere the actual format of the Rite ie, the liturgy, the words that the Priest says and the responses, what the candidates say, waht the sponsors say etc etc. The Rite of Sending is not in our Priests RCIA book and all the clause numbers I have seen referred don’t make any sense. help please!

  3. Todd says:

    In the US 1988 edition, it’s found in nos. 111-117. I included the text we Americans have in three posts: 111, 112-113, and 114-117. If you are from outside the US your book may be numbered differently. Most likely is that your priest has an outdated edition. The 1972 provisional rite didn’t have the Rite of Sending, I think.

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