GDC 256: “The baptismal catechumenate of adults”

A catechumenate takes place almost exclusively in a parish setting, and within the various subsettings there. There’s a note attached to today’s section heading, “See Part I, chap. III. Here the question of the baptismal catechumenate as a locus of catechesis is addressed in relation to the continuing presence of the community in it.”

256. The baptismal catechumenate is a typical locus of catechesis, instituted by the Church to prepare adults, who desire to become Christians and to receive the Sacraments of Christian initiation. (Cf. General Catechetical Directory, 130 which describes the end of the baptismal catechumenate. Cf. RCIA 4 indicates the connection between the baptismal catechumenate and the Christian community) In the catechumenate, it is realized “that specific formation by means of which the adult, converted to the faith, is brought to a confession of baptismal faith during the Easter Vigil”. (1977 Synod, Message to the People of God 8c) The catechesis given in the catechumenate is closely linked with the Christian community. (Cf. RCIA 4, 41) From the moment of their entry into the catechumenate, the Church surrounds catechumens “with her affection, her care, as though they are already her children and joined to her: indeed, they belong to the family of Christ”. (RCIA 18) Thus the Christian community assists “candidates and catechumens during their initiation process, from the precatechumenate to the catechumenate, to the period of mystagogy”. (RCIA 41) This continual presence of the Christian community is expressed in different ways and appropriately described in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. (Cf. RCIA 41)

A good question to ask ourselves individually: in what way have we participated in the surrounding of newcomers in our community? And obviously for those directly responsible for RCIA: how have we invited, encouraged, and facilitated this, aside from the public rites? What does this participation look like? Basic presence: showing people how Christians, Catholics, and this particular Christian community behaves. Acts of kindness: hospitality, food, advice. Telling the story of one’s own faith. Serving as a sponsor or godparent. Nothing demanding. One or two significant contacts a year for every member of a faith community would make a big impact.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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