RCIA 416-424: The Ritual Welcome

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As with some of the other rites, I’m not picking apart these texts line by line. This Rite of Welcoming closely parallels the Rite of Acceptance for catechumens (RCIA 48-68). As with Acceptance, Welcoming mostly takes place before the Liturgy of the Word. That portion in outline:

WELCOMING THE CANDIDATES (RCIA 416)

Greeting (417)
Opening Dialogue (418)
Candidate’s Declaration of Intent (419)
Affirmation by the Sponsors and the Assembly (420)
Signing of the Candidates with a Cross (421-423)
Concluding Prayer (424)

The rubrics begin:

416. When this rite is celebrated within Mass, the entrance song or antiphon is sung as usual. Because they are already numbered among the baptized, the candidates are seated in a prominent place among the faithful.

In 417, the celebrant offers a greeting and brief remarks to everyone; to the assembly, a reminder these candidates are already baptized, and possibly some comments on how these candidates have been led to complete their initiation.

Then he invites the sponsors and candidates to come forward. As they are taking their places before the celebrant, an appropriate song may be sung, for example, Psalm 63:1-8.

In the Opening Dialogue, each candidate is asked for her or his name, or they may respond (option B) “Present,” to a calling out of their name. Either individually or as a large group, the candidates respond to the question “What do you ask of God’s Church?” The answer may be in the candidate’s own words.

In RCIA 419, the declaration of intent may take one of two forms. Choice A finds the celebrant offering a brief address on the meaning of baptism and the continuation of the journey begun there. Option B involves the candidates in offering “a brief personal witness.”

The sponsors and assembly are asked for their support in RCIA 420. The celebrant then wraps up with a brief prayer and the people “Sing or say” the short acclamation, “We praise you, Lord, and we bless you,” just as in RCIA 53. The community’s expression of support is not unlike that for the unbaptized. My sense is that every parish should have one setting of this acclamation in its repertoire.

In RCIA 421-422, the candidates are signed on the forehead. An acclamation is sung or said following, just as with catechumens. Signing of other senses (423) may follow as it does in the catechumens’ rite (see RCIA 56). A prayer concludes this portion of the rite.

Each of the prayers mentioned above refer to the baptism of the candidates. The emphasis is on reminding all of the nature of baptism and pointing the candidates toward the “fullness of the Church’s sacramental life,” and other such wording.

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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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