RCIA 281: Homily at Election

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The outline of the Rite of Election for adults and the one for children of catechetical age are virtually identical. The additions for young people are two: the inclusion of parents in the affirmation by the godparents, plus an optional “Recognition of the Godparents” placed after the Act of Election.

I suspect that recent legislation clamping down on lay preaching would abrogate it, but I’ll offer the 1988 text giving the rubrics for the homily:

281. The bishop, or the celebrant who acts as a delegate of the bishop, gives the homily. This should be brief and suitable to the understanding of the children. If the celebrant finds it difficult in the homily to adapt himself to the mentality of the children, one of the adults, for example, the children’s catechist, may speak to the children after the gospel.

While I think there are any number of lay people who could and should be given an opportunity for liturgical preaching, I think letting a bishop or priest off the hook at a major church liturgy is wrongheaded, even if children are present. First, I think that being an effective preacher means being able to communicate with children and youth. A cleric unable to do this probably shouldn’t have the faculties to preach in the first place.

The content of the “brief” homily is a no-brainer:

The entire community should be encouraged to give good example to the children and to show their support and interest in them as they prepare to celebrate the Easter sacraments.

You can’t get much easier that this. While it may be preaching to the choir, so to speak, it does give the bishop or other preacher an opportunity. A lay person may not be able to preach these days, but a wise preacher, if he were a bit adrift on the content of the Election homily might well attempt a simple exchange, approaching a number of parents, godparents, catechists, and pastors, and ask them, “What message do you need to hear as these children approach the Easter sacraments?” Speaking with the children themselves, if only in the cathedral parish, might be a good idea, too.

What do you think?

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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.

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