RCIA 372-373: Emergency Initiation


The rite of RCIA 375-399 is, according to number 372 …

… designed particularly for use by catechists and laypersons; a priest or a deacon may use it in a case of emergency. But normally a priest or a deacon is to use the abbreviated form of Christian initiation given in nos. 340-369, making any changes required by circumstances of place and time.

Some direction on the other initiation sacraments follow in this section:

The minister of baptism who is a priest should, when chrism is at hand and there is time, confer confirmation after the baptism; in this case there is no postbaptismal anointing.

The minister of baptism who is a priest, a deacon, or a catechist or layperson having permission to distribute communion, should, if this is possible, give the eucharist to the newly baptized person. In this case before the beginning of the celebration of the rite the blessed sacrament is placed reverently on a table covered with a white cloth.

And what if there is a true emergency of time? Then there is an even shorter ritual:

373. In the case of a person who is at the point of death, that is, whose death is imminent and time is short, the minister, omitting everything else, pours natural water (even if not blessed) on the head of the sick person while saying the usual sacramental form (see Christian Initiation, General Introduction, no 23).

So, summing up, the clergy should generally not use this section, and if they are truly pressed for time, the formula and natural water are really all that is necessary. Any comments, so far? Y’all have been rather silent on RCIA these days.


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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