RCIA 42: Prerequisites for Acceptance

img_6803One of the first questions asked is when will the candidates be ready for the rite of acceptance. What are the signs? Hopefully not so much: what hoops have to be jumped through?

42. The prerequisite for making this first step is that the beginnings of the spiritual life and the fundamentals of Christian teaching have taken root in the candidates. (Ad Gentes 14)

Breaking this down into a list, here are six factors that pastors and catechumenate ministers will look for:

– Thus there must be evidence of the first faith that was conceived during the period of evangelization and precatechumenate and …

– of an initial conversion and intention to change their lives and to enter into a relationship with God in Christ.

– Consequently there must also be evidence of the first stirrings of repentance, …

– a start to the practice of calling upon God in prayer, …

– a sense of the Church, …

– and some experience of the company and spirit of Christians through contact with a priest or with members of the community.

This is an important list, with a caution that the Church’s rites don’t see these as items on a checklist for people to perform. It gives important guidance to people in parishes as to how to conduct a catechumenate: how to direct and guide inquirers, and fashion the meetings and interactions with parishioners.

The candidates should also be instructed about the celebration of the liturgical rite of acceptance.

And a sensible conclusion. Conventional wisdom has it that one doesn’t instruct candidates in the choreography of the rituals–that is for the sponsor to guide and assist. But candidates should be prepared for some aspects–this isn’t hazing, after all.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in post-conciliar liturgy documents, RCIA, Rites. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to RCIA 42: Prerequisites for Acceptance

  1. Dcn. Brian Carroll says:

    I have 30 years of ministry in RCIA and my advice on the assessment of candidates/catecuments for advancement is two-fold: 1) The prerequisites for Baptism have to be somewhat less that those for the Beatific Vision. 2) Those for the Rite of acceptance must be correspondingly lower that those for Baptism. RCIA purists need to remember that we are dealing with bruised reeds and smoldering wicks and not candidates for sainthood.

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