RCIA 227-230: “Explanatory” Rites


I’m not going to spend a lot of type on the rites which are bracketed by baptism and confirmation. RCIA 227 gives a simple rubric stating that these rites are immediately followed by confirmation.

In case the candidates aren’t being confirmed (a serious reason needed, there) RCIA 228 gives the rubrics and ritual for post baptismal anointing. I will call your attention to this directive:

In silence each of the newly baptized is anointed with chrism on the crown of the head.

Two things. First, the anointing is not on the forehead, but on the top of the head. Note also the directive for silence. This is in contrast with the option given in RCIA 235 that a “suitable song” may be sung during the Confirmation anointing. Music might call too much attention/solemnity to a minor rite such as this that has enough problems finding a real justification. Then you have the problem a friend faced in a parish in which her pastor insisted the post-baptismal anointing was to be done not with chrism, but with the oil of catechumens.

Next up, the Clothing with a Baptismal Garment:

229. The garment used in this rite may be white or of a color that conforms to local custom. If circumstances suggest, this rite may be omitted.

There is a brief formulary:

N. and N., you have become a new creation
and have clothed yourselves in Christ.
Receive this baptismal garment
and bring it unstained to the judgment seat
of our Lord Jesus Christ,
so that you may have everlasting life.

The rubrics direct the godparents to “place the garment” when the priest says the words “Receive this baptismal garment.” It’s an interesting quirk that a parallel directive isn’t included in the rite for the candle. It’s a small thing, but how has your parish handled these rites with garment and candle?

RCIA 230 give the rubrics and ritual words for the Presentation of a Lighted Candle. The former directs the priest to take the Paschal Candle in his hands or touch it as he invites them to light a candle. Once all the candles are presented, the presider addresses the candidates briefly:

You have been enlightened by Christ.
Walk always as children of the light
and keep the flame of faith alive in your hearts.
When the Lord comes, may you go out to meet him
with all the saints in the heavenly kingdom.

This section concludes with provisional directives if Confirmation will be delayed for the candidates. At the Easter Vigil, the assembly renews baptismal promises. The newly baptized are then to take their places among the assembly. If a time other than the Easter Vigil, they return immediately to their seats among the faithful ; there is no Easter renewal for the assembly.

Whew! A lot of little, but significant things. We liturgists don’t want to mess this up. Are you readers getting the picture? Any comments?

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.

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