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  Christian Initiation

Worship &
Christian Initiation

Liturgical Institute
of the Southwest
Liturgy Updates
Sacramental Policies

RCIA - Some Reminders

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1. Children.

Unbaptized Children. Unbaptized children who have attained the use of reason (approximately age 7) have the same rights as adults for the purpose of Christian initiation (c. 852. 1). These children are to be admitted to the catechumenate and be led through the several stages to sacramental initiation (c. 851.1). They should receive the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist at the Easter Vigil (c. 866 and RCIA, National Statutes, #18)

Baptized Children. Children baptized in a separated ecclesial community with the use of reason who are seeking full communion are also considered adults for purposes of Christian Initiation. They may participate in liturgical rites marking their progress (RCIA #478). These children make a profession of faith, are received into the Church, are confirmed and receive Eucharist (RCIA, #490-498). Reception of candidates into the communion of the Catholic Church may take place at a Sunday Eucharist of the parish (RCIA National Statutes, #32). Reception may also take place at the Vigil, for pastoral reasons (RCIA National Statutes, #34).

2. Length of Period of Catechumenate. “The period of the catechumenate, beginning at acceptance into the order of catechumens and including both the catechumenate proper and the period of purification and enlightenment after election or enrollment of names, should extend for at least one year of formation, instruction, and probation”. (National Statutes for the Catechumenate, #6).

3. Time of Celebration. The celebration of the sacraments of Christian Initiation
(Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist) should take place at the Easter Vigil (RCIA, # 23)

a) If the Bishop decides circumstances warrant: a change in time outside
the usual times (RCIA #34.2);
b) Danger of death (c. 865.2);
c) Serious pastoral needs (a great many people to be baptized) (RCIA #26).

4. Divorced People: A divorced person may participate in the RCIA process and receive the sacraments. There is no impediment to being received into the Church. However, it is important that they know the teaching of the Church regarding marriage. The divorced do not need to petition for an annulment before receiving the sacraments of initiation. They will need to petition for an annulment if they plan to marry in the future.

5. Divorced, Remarried and in Need of an Annulment. If a person is divorced, remarried, and in need of an annulment, they may participate in the precatechumenate, the Rite of Acceptance, and the period of Catechumenate. They may not participate in the Rite of Election until their annulment has been granted.

6. Recording of those Received into Full Communion. There may be some confusion about the recording of the reception of baptized Christians into the Catholic faith from other faith traditions. Here is what the RCIA rite # 486 says: “The names of those received into the full communion of the Catholic Church should be recorded in a special book, with the date and place of their baptism also noted”.

In checking with the North American Forum on the Catechumenate, they do not know of any publisher producing a “special book” for the newly received. If a parish has made it’s own “special book” for the newly received and is recording the information there, that is proper and may continue.

However, if you have no “special book”, the reception is to be recorded in the parish Baptismal Register according to the procedure outlined in RCIA #486. Of course, the Confirmation and First Communion of the newly received are to also be recorded in the parish Confirmation and First Communion register.


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