Most of your parishes have already accepted catechumens by now, I hope. With Lent so early (First Sunday of Lent on February 10th) those who wait for the first Advent Sunday will find their catechumenate period not much longer than Lent itself.
Anyway, I’d like to poll you on how your parish handles the dismissal of catechumens. At the conclusion of the Rite of Acceptance, RCIA #67 instructs the celebrant to “recall briefly the great joy with which the catechumens have just been received and urges them to live according to the word of God …”
I’ve never felt another mini-homily was entirely adequate, even at the usual Sunday Masses. The actual dismissal formulas are mostly brief and more instructional than prayerful.
RCIA #95-96 offers the reasoning for blessings of catechumens and #97 gives nine options. I find these ritual blessings underutilized by clergy and not advocated by catechumenate directors as often as they might be. For years, I’ve advocated that they be used at Mass, as RCIA #96 advises: “The blessings are usually given at the end of a celebration of the word …”
A sample of how this might work.
The priest invites the catechumens to come forward for a blessing. Once they are in place, the priest outstretches his hands over the group and continues:
Let us pray …
Lord, form these catechumens by the mysteries of the faith, that they may be brought to rebirth in baptism and be counted amnong the members of your Church. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Catechumens, go in peace, and may the Lord remain with you always.
R. Thanks be to God.
I’ve lifted the wording right out of the ritual book, but it places the dismissal in context of prayer, and keeps it simple and sweet. How do you do it in your parishes?