RCIA 438-445: Rite of Sending

img_6803This rite parallels the rite of sending catechumens for the Rite of Election. Given the reality that the bishop presides at the minority of adult baptisms in his diocese, this is one of two moments in which he does share liturgy with those seeking to become Catholic. How effective these moments are: I leave that for another discussion.

The Rite of  Sending for baptized candidates is simple. It all takes place after the homily (RCIA 438), which the rubrics state should be addressed not only to the candidates, but to the entire “community of the faithful, so that all will be encouraged to give good example and to accompany the candidates” in their faith journey.

After the homily, another priest, a deacon, or a catechist responsible for the candidates presents them to the presider. The rubric in 439 states they are to be called by name and they are to come forward.

RCIA 440 is a brief address to the candidates–this is one reason why the homily shouldn’t do this: it is already provided in the rite. Sponsors are asked, “(D)o you consider these candidates ready to receive the sacraments of confirmation and eucharist?” The assembly “when appropriate in the circumstances” may also express their approval.

RCIA 441 concludes the “Affirmation by the Sponsors [and the Assembly]” by addressing the candidates

And now, my dear friends, I address you. Your own sponsors [and this entire community] have spoken in your favor. The Church, in the name of Christ, accepts their testimony and sends you to Bishop N., who will exhort you to live in deeper conformity to the life of Christ.

Fascinating are the deductions one can make on theology from looking at these rites. First, candidates who arrive at this point have been, by definition, judged ready for Confirmation and Eucharist. The period of time that parallels the pre-Lent catechumenate is when this readiness is achieved. The Church also wisely notes that those ready for the sacraments are not perfect. Indeed, none of us truly are. The Christian calling is not to achieve perfection, but as the rite expresses, is to go deeper. In this instance, deeper into conformity to the example of Jesus Christ.

In RCIA 442, all join in the General Intercessions. A choice of five intentions may be added to the usual prayers of the faithful. In RCIA 443, the celebrant has a final prayer over the candidates. RCIA 444 provides for an instance in which the Eucharist is not celebrated: the entire assembly is dismissed and a concluding song may be sung.

RCIA 445 provides some brief rubrics for the instance of this celebration occuring at Mass. It’s a bit of sloppy editing for the framers, as they mention the “resumption” of intercessory prayer. RCIA 442 has already indicated petitions that are to be added to the general intercessions of the community. The profession of faith may be included, but this rubric also gives the option to omit both. And again, note: there is no given dismissal for the baptized, even those uncatechized.

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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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