Friday, November 9, 2007

Back to the Present

This coming Sunday, November 11, I will experience my first step in the RCIA process -- the Rite of Acceptance.

As described in a document posted online,

CELEBRATION OF THE RITE OF ACCEPTANCE

The Candidates and their sponsors gather at the entrance of the church.

GREETING

Celebrant:

Dear friends, the Church joyfully welcomes today those who will be received into the order of catechumens. In the months to come they will prepare for their initiation into the Christian faith by baptism, confirmation, and eucharist.

Opening Dialogue

The celebrant calls out the name of each candidate (list of names printed for the Celebrant here)

Candidate:

Present

Celebrant:

What do you ask of God’s Church?

Candidate:

Faith.

Celebrant:

What does faith offer you?

Candidate:

Eternal life.

Celebrant:

This is eternal life: to know the one true God and Jesus Christ, whom he has sent. Christ has been raised from the dead and appointed by God as the Lord of life and ruler of all things, seen and unseen.

If, then you wish to become his disciples and members of his church, you must be guided to the fullness of the truth that he has revealed to us. You must learn to make the mind of Christ Jesus your own. Your must strive to pattern your life on the teachings of the Gospel and so to love the Lord your God and your neighbor. For this was Christ’s command and he was its perfect example.

Is each of you ready to accept these teachings of the Gospel?

Candidate:

I am.

Affirmation by the Sponsors and the Assembly

Celebrant:

Sponsors, you now present these candidates to us; are you, and all who are gathered here with us, ready to help these candidates find and follow Christ?

All:

We are.

With hands joined, the celebrant says:

Father of mercy, we thank you for these your servants. You have sought and summoned them in many ways and they have turned to seek you.

You have called them today and they have answered in our presence: we praise you, Lord, and we bless you.

All:

We praise you, Lord, and we bless you.

SIGNING OF THE CANDIDATES WITH THE CROSS

Celebrant:

Next the cross is traced on the forehead of the candidates at the discretion of the celebrant the signing of one, several, or all of the sense may follow. The celebrant alone says the formularies accompanying each signing.

Celebrant

Come forward now with your sponsors to receive the sign of your new way of life as catechumens.

With their sponsors, the candidates come one by one to the celebrant; with his thumb he traces a cross on the forehead saying the following words:

Celebrant

N., receive the cross on your forehead. It is Christ himself who now strengthens you with this sign of his love. Learn to know him and follow him.

All:

Glory and praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ

SIGNING OF THE OTHER SENSES

The signing is carried out by the catechists or the sponsors. The signing of each sense may be followed by an acclamation in praise of Christ, for example, “Glory and praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ!”

Receive the sign of the cross on your ears, that you may hear the voice of the Lord.

Receive the sign of the cross on your eyes, that you may see the glory of God.

Receive the sign of the cross on your lips, that you may respond to the word of God.

Receive the sign of the cross over your heart, that Christ may dwell there by faith.

Receive the sign of the cross on your shoulders, that you may bear the gentle yoke of Christ.

Receive the sign of the cross on your hands, that Christ may be known in the work which you do.

Receive the sign of the cross on your feet, that you may walk in the way of Christ.

Then the celebrant makes the sign of the cross over all together saying:

I sign you with the sign of eternal life in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Catechumens:

Amen.

Concluding Prayer

Celebrant:

Let us pray.

Lord, we have signed these catechumens with the sign of Christ’s cross. Protect them by its power, so that, faithful to the grace which has begun in them, they may keep your commandments and come to the glory of rebirth in baptism.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Catechumens may be seated as you share with us at the table of God’s word.

Readings

Gospel

Homily

Presentation of a Bible

After homily celebrant calls Catechumens forward. Bless the bibles, team will help as you present a bible to each candidate saying: “Receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God”.

Intercessions

Celebrant:

These catechumens, who are our brothers and sisters, have already traveled a long road. We rejoice with them in the gentle guidance of God who has brought them to this day. Let us pray that they may press onwards, until they come to share fully in our way of life.

Lector:

That God our Father may reveal this Christ to them more and more with every passing day, let us pray to the Lord:

R. Lord hear our prayer.

Lector:

That they may undertake with generous hearts and souls whatever God may ask of them, let us pray to the Lord.

R. Lord hear our prayer.

Lector:

That they may have our sincere and unfailing support every step of the way, let us pray to the Lord.

R. Lord hear our prayer.

Lector:

That they may find in our community compelling signs of unity and generous love, let us pray to the Lord.

R. Lord hear our prayer.

Lector:

That their hearts and ours may become more responsive to the needs of others, let us pray to the Lord.

R. Lord hear our prayer.

Lector:

That in due time they may be found worthy to receive the baptism of new birth and renewal in the Holy Spirit, let us pray to the Lord.

R. Lord hear our prayer.

Prayer over the Catechumens

After the intercessions, the celebrant, with hands ourstreched over the catechumens, says the following prayer.

Almighty God, source of all creation, you have made us in your image.

Welcome with love those who come before you today.

They have listened among us to the word of Christ; by its power renew them and by your grace refashion them, so that in time they may assume the full likeness of Christ, who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

R. Amen

Dismissal of the Catechumens

My dear friends, this community now sends you forth to reflect more deeply upon the word of God which you have shared with us today. Be assured of our loving support and prayers for you. We look forward to the day when you will share in the Lord’s Table.

A team member will lead the Catechumen’s out to study the scripture.


I remember when I first heard about this Rite. My dear friend explained it to me; she was being accepted as a Catechumen in the Church. At the time, I thought, how wonderful that the Church celebrates the intentions of those on the way to conversion in such a beautiful and special way!! The Rite really makes present the import of Jesus' words at Matthew 7:7, 8:

7 Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and you shall find: knock, and it shall be opened to you. 8 For every one that asketh, receiveth: and he that seeketh, findeth: and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened. -- Douay-Rheims Bible

It will be a glorious day :-)

4 comments:

Gretchen said...

I am so glad your RCIA service touched you deeply. Mine did, too. And I'm so glad you visited my blog. I've just been reading over your posts and we have many similarities...religious rebellion in the family history, a potent sense of God's presence until about age 12, a very off-shoot faith (mine was Christian Science)...wow! I'll be visiting often!

NanaR said...

Thanks for stopping by, Gretchen :-) It's very nice to meet a fellow traveler.

I added you to my links so I can visit you again soon;-)

Ruth

gurnygob said...

I have a site that i am trying to promote and I as am sure you know, it is not that easy when one starts off. I was wondering if you would consider giving me a link on your site. you will find my site at.
http://jesuscalling.blogspot.com/
May God bless you.
yours in Jesus
Brian.

Jaybird said...

What an exciting journey! Hang in there. Easter will be here before you know it. I was received into the church last Easter. It was wonderful. Read about it on my blog.