What are the fruits of the mystagogical period? For the neophytes? For the faith community?
246. Just as their new participation in the sacraments enlightens the neophytes’ understanding of the Scriptures, so too it increases their contact with the rest of the faithful and has an impact on the community.
Pausing here to note the echo of Luke 24:13-35, one of the great mystagogical Scriptures of the Easter Lectionary. (Third Sunday in cycle A and Easter Wednesday each year.)
As a result, interaction between the neophytes and the faithful is made easier and more beneficial. The period of postbaptismal catechesis is of great significance for both the neophytes and the rest of the faithful. Through it the neophytes, with the help of their godparents, should experience a full and joyful welcome into the community and enter into closer ties with the other faithful. The faithful, in turn, should derive from it a renewal of inspiration and of outlook.
From this section we might conclude that one of the goals of the mystagogical period is the quality of unity, the integration of the newcomers into the faith community. Is the celebration of Eucharist with neophytes such a step for the parish that the mere inclusion of newcomers (no more dismissal) makes an impact? Or has the faith witness of the catechumens/elect come to a fruition, and now the rest of the community sees and experiences it?
I would imagine a community attuned to evangelization would derive great benefit from the full inclusion of newcomers. Does that happen in your parish? Clearly, if the community is involved beforehand in the catechumenate journey, one cannot expect it not to happen. But if RCIA is kept segregated from the parish at-large, that would be one serious strike against the mystagogical period from the get-go.