Family Catechesis-Parish Leadership Support
Q) Should candidates for complete initiation be part of the RCIA?
A) The RCIA process is designed for those adults who have not been baptized, and for those who after baptism received little or no catechesis. Candidates who received catechesis and have lived their faith need not be part of RCIA (cf RCIA App III 31), and should be received when ready. Parishes are encouraged to offer Adult Confirmation programs and other options to prepare and receive adults who are baptized and received some catechesis.
Q) Who is considered an adult?
A) An "adult" is someone who has reached the age of reason usually considered around the age of 7 (cf Canon 97 §2). Preparation for these children who have reached the age of reason and are considered an adult should be age appropriate and follow the RCIA Part II Section 1 (cf. RCIA para 252)
Q) Do Candidates have to participate in the Rite of Acceptance and Election?
A) The Rites of Acceptance and Rite of Election are reserved for the un-baptized (i.e. catechumens.) Candidates may participate in the Rite of Welcoming and the Rite of Call to Continuing Conversion. The RCIA includes combined rites for parishes with groups of both catechumens and candidates who are in formation together (cf RCIA Appendix I).
Q) When is the Rite of Acceptance and Rite of Welcoming usually celebrated?
A) These Rites whether seperate or combined customarily fall on the Feast of Christ the King. However these Rites can be celebrated when people have completed the period of Pre-Evangelization and Inquiry.
Q) When is the Rite of Election usually celebrated?
A) This Rite is always celebrated by the Bishop (cf. RCIA para 121) and as a rule on the First Sunday of Lent (cf. RCIA para 125). Parishes may celebrate the Rite of Sending immediately before the Rite of Election (cf. RCIA para 106).
Q) When is the Rite of Calling Canditates to Continuing Conversion
(a.ka. Rite of Recognition)?
A) In the Diocese of Phoenix this Rite is celebrated at the Cathedral by Bishop Olmsted on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (2nd week of January). Parishes may celebrate of Rite of Sending immediately before the Rite of Election (cf. RCIA para 434).
Q) Do Candidates sign the book of the elect?
A) No. Only catechumens sign the book.
Q) When should Catechumens sign the Book of the Elect?
A) The importance of signing the Book of the Elect is referenced in para 119. The Rite recommends signing the book during the Rite of Sending (para 113), an optional rite beginning on Para 106. However the signing of the book can happen sometime near the Rite of Election when the book is presented to the Bishop (cf. note on RCIA para 132)
Q) What marriage issues impede the RCIA process?
A) Anyone who is in an irregular marriage (i.e. a Catholic married outside the church, or any person remarried without an decree of nullity issued by the Church) must have their situation carefully examined before entrance in the Catechumenate. Each case is unique so seek assistance when needed.
Q) Do married Catechumens or Protestant Candidates need their
A) Married couples who have no prior marriages, and neither party is Catholic are not bound by Catholic form and therefore married in the eyes of the Church. After they receive their sacraments no convalidation is necessary.
Q) How should uncatechetized Baptized Catholics who are married civilly be
incorporated into the RCIA process?
A) Individuals or couples who are Catholic but married outside of the Church, and who have no previous marriages will need to have their Marriage convalidated prior to receiving the sacraments. In certain circumstances it may be appropriate to convalidate the marriage after reception of the sacraments if the couple fully understands the expectations of Church prior to their convalidation (i.e. they must live as brother and sister until convalidation).
Q) How should individuals or couples who have been previously married be
incorporated into the RCIA process?
A) Anyone who has a previous marriage (Catholic or non-Catholic) without a decree of nullity issued by the Church must have their situation carefully examined. While people in irregular marriages are impeded from completing initiation they can certainly participate in the Period of Pre-Catechumenate, the Rite of Acceptance and the subsequent period of the Catechumenate, but they cannot be accepted as elect (i.e. be admitted to the Rite of the Elect) and/or approach the sacraments until their impediment is removed. Each case is unique so seek assistance when needed.
Q) Who has faculties to confirm at the Easter Vigil?
A) By law: pastors can (and must) confirm those adults they Baptize, or admit into full communion with the Catholic Church (cf. Canon 883). By special faculties granted by the Bishop: pastors/ and all priests present at the vigil may Confirm those who are recieved, as well as those Baptized Catholics who were not catechized when they reconciled to the Church.
Q) Can a pastor confirm a person outside of the Easter Vigil?
A) A pastor can and must confirm any adult who he receives into the Church (who is not already validly confirmed). Reception of a baptized (non-Catholic) adult into full communion with the Church follows the Rite of "Reception of Baptized Christians into the Full Communion of the Catholic Church" (RCIA para 473-498, also App III, 35), and is normally celebrated at a Sunday liturgy.