So, what’s the bottom line on receiving baptized Christians at the Catholic Easter Vigil along with the Baptism of the elect?
564. The decision … must be guided by the provision in the Rite of Reception, Introduction (RCIA 475 no. 2). The decision should, then, be consistent in the actual situation with respect for ecumenical values and be guided by attentiveness both to local conditions and to personal and family preferences. The person to be received should always be consulted about the form of reception. (see RCIA 475, no. 2)
Ecumenical sensitivity: yes. Parish ministers must also be attentive to the situations of parish, candidate, and the family of the candidate.
565. In its actual arrangement the celebration itself must reflect the status of candidates for reception into the full communion of the Catholic Church: such candidates have already been incorporated into Christ in baptism and anything that would equate them with catechumens is to be absolutely avoided (see RCIA 477).
What might equate them with catechumens? Possibly many common practices: similar seating plans in the pews for individuals and families, similar robing for Confirmation and Eucharist, to name two. Perhaps the community and the candidates are well-prepared in advance of the Vigil. Holy Saturday night isn’t primarily about lessons in ecumenism.
In the next post, we’ll briefly outline the Easter Vigil with both baptism and reception. From there, we’ll be very close to wrapping up the whole series on RCIA.