The full title of the next major rite for baptized candidates is “Rite of Sending the Candidates for Recognition by the Bishop and for the Call to Continuing Conversion.”
It’s almost always referred to as “Rite of Sending.”
You’ll recall that RCIA includes five different celebrations for catechumens in the corollary stage before this rite: celebrations of the Word (RCIA 81-89), minor exorcisms (90-94), blessings (95-97), anointings (98-103), and the presentations (104-105). Before we delve into the Rite of Sending, let’s check which may apply to the baptized.
RCIA 406 encourages celebrations of the Word. Rites of exorcism would seem to apply only to the unbaptized. Ditto the anointings.
The rite doesn’t explicitly advocate blessing the candidates, but since the baptized are certainly blessed in liturgical settings, this would seem appropriate, assuring that a proper reference to the state of the candidates is included. RCIA 407 states that the presentation of the Creed and Lord’s Prayer may be used. As we get deeper into this part of RCIA, we’ll look at the special rites for the “Call to Continuing Conversion” and the “Penitential Rite.” But these are reserved to Lent or the period of final preparation before Confirmation and Eucharist.
Let’s get to the instruction, then offer a few comments after each section.
434. This optional rite is provided for parishes whose candidates seeking to complete their Christian initiation or to be received into the full communion of the Catholic Church will be recognized by the bishop in a subsequent celebration (for example, at the cathedral with the bishop.)
Remember, the rite of sending catechumens is also optional.
435. Because he is the sign of unity within the particular Church, it is fitting for the bishop to recognize these candidates. It is the responsibility of the parish community, however, to prepare the candidates for their fuller life in the Church. Through the experience of worship, daily life, and service in the parish community the candidates deepen their appreciation of the Church’s tradition and universal character.
Why would a celebration of sending be chosen? Here are two reasons, expressing joy and the feeling of assurance:
This rite offers that local community the opportunity to express its joy in the candidates’ decision and to send them forth to the celebration of recognition assured of the parish’s care and support.
And two last instructions:
436. The rite is celebrated in the parish church at a suitable time prior to the rite of recognition and call to continuing conversion.
437. When the rite of sending candidates for recognition is to be combined with the rite of sending catechumens for election, the alternate rite found [at RCIA 530ff] (Appendix I, 2) is used.
More often, it happens that parishes combine the two groups to send to the bishop. In fact, in thirty years of being in parishes with RCIA, I’ve never used this rite described above and to be examined in the next few posts (RCIA 434-445).