RCIA 278-280: More on Children at Election


Let’s crunch together these three sections of instruction on the Rite of Election for children of catechetical age. For the basic principles and discussion, the Rite of Election is covered in RCIA 118 and through to section 135.

RCIA 278 is a reminder that readiness is based on the “testimony” of adults: parents, godparents, and catechists. “Election,” or the Church’s choice, is also influenced by the children’s “reaffrimation of their intention.” Are child catechumens prepared to witness, on an age-appropriate level, to their intention?

RCIA 279 designates a priority of places for the celebration of election: cathedral, parish church, “some other suitable and fitting place.” This section also reminds that if children are enrolled with adult catechumens, the adult rite (RCIA 129ff) should be used, and the presider is authorized to offer “appropriate adaptation.”

A word on adaptation, pretty much any liturgical sort. To be effective, it must be planned. A liturgical minister does poorly to adapt on the fly. The pace of presidency, especially, is affected by one pace with the comfortable words of a script, and changed to something pause-pitted and grammatically questionable when words and phrases are altered on the spur of the moment.

RCIA 280 designates that Election is celebrated after a homily at Mass. It should take place on the First Sunday of Lent. The ritual Mass from the Missal (Christian Initiation: Election) is to be used. Readings are to be taken from the First Sunday of Lent, though “others may be chosen from elsewhere in the Lectionary.”

One last comment before opening up the discussion. This would not be a situation in which I would find most any “Masses with Children” adaptations very helpful. Election is a community celebration, not one necessarily devoted to children. While children are the focus of the sacramental journey, the rites directed to them are given in adapted form in the sections that follow (281-290). If explanation or instruction must be part of the liturgy, then the processions, music, and a carefully crafted homily should shoulder the task.


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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