Sections 289 through 294 outline “Proposals for Christian initiation.” This section outlines a progression that is not always followed. Many places in Christendom suffer from more of a “club membership” notion of being a believer. For Catholics, that sacramental moment, after which we have rights. But the responsibilities of Christian life are not emphasized quite as much.
Let’s read of the Aparecida bishops’ “urgency.”
289. We feel the urgency of developing in our communities a process of initiation into Christian life starting with the kerygma, guided by the Word of God, leading to an ever greater personal encounter with Jesus Christ, perfect God and perfect man, (Cf. Symbol Quicumque: DS 76) experienced as fullness of humanity, which leads to conversion, to following in an ecclesial community, and to a maturing of faith in the practice of the sacraments, service, and mission.
So this boils down to the following:
- The essence of Christ is preached: Mission, Passion, Resurrection as the saving act of God for people.
- The Word of God nourishes the seeker.
- Developing that personal encounter with Jesus.
- Personal conversion.
- Belonging to a faith community that practices the faith.
- Maturity in the sacramental life.
- Service and mission.
Step one parallels with the pre-catechumenate. Two and three follow the Rite of Acceptance–this is the phase of the catechumenate proper. The beginning of the experience of #3 leading into #4 will lead to a discernment for Election. The period of Lent involves that personal encounter, as once experienced by the woman at the well, the man born blind, and Lazarus and his sisters. Initiation into the ecclesial community of the Church at the Easter Vigil, followed by an integration into Christ’s mission.
For deeper examination, an English translation of the 2007 document from the Aparecida Conference.