Thursday, February 18, 2016

R.C.I.A. Lingo

It is easy to see why some people are turned off by RCIA.  New terms and concepts are thrown at them.  Yes, each one is most probably explained, but one doesn't have a chance to get used to a term, understand it, let alone get accustomed to it, before another is introduced.

First of all, the man or woman trying to understand what Catholicism is all about is referred to R.C.I.A.  They may have asked what RCIA meant and told that it's an abbreviation for Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, but that might immediately pass through the ears, because it's not used in its long form.  It is the most frequent question asked, and that's not by the newbies, it's asked, every single year by the same "cradle Catholics" --What's RCIA stand for, again?

Next, these newbies are called:
       Inquirers
       Candidates
       Neophytes
       Precatechumenate

They are instructed by:
     catechists
     sponsors

They learn they will need:
        rites
      godparents
      sponsors

They will receive:
      Sacraments of Initiation:
             Baptism
             Eucharist
             Confirmation

If they are baptized they are then called:
        candidates
However, if they are NOT baptized they are called:
        catechumen

Confused yet?

After Ash Wednesday, there is:
        Rite of Election
by the way, from the first Sunday in Lent to Easter is
called a period of Purification and Enlightenment

First Sunday of Lent is this Rite of Election so they are called:
        The Elect

Stay with me.

The Elect publically declare their intention to join the Catholic Church.
Their names and the names of their godparents are written in the Book
of the Elect. With prayers of support from the entire congregation, the
Elect now begin the last and most intensive weeks on the way to becoming
fully Catholics.

Every Sunday during Lent the Creed and Lord's prayer will be recited to
have the Elect recite.  The Third, Fourth and Fifth Sundays of Lent, special
rites called scrutinies will be read. Scrutinies are special prays for understanding
and purification.

Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday.  The Elect join with the parishioners in
a
procession, waving palm branches recalling Jesus triumphal entry into Jerusalem.

The last three days of Holy Week are called the Triduum--Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday.
       Holy Thursday--The Elect participate in getting their feet washed.
       Good Friday--The Elect meditate upon the death of Jesus.
       Holy Saturday--Finally, amidst long ceremonies, the Elect come to the fullness of Christian initiation.  They receive a solemn blessing, are baptized, and receive the Eucharist.  Confirmation comes at a later date, although sometimes depending on circumstances, the priest may confirm the newly baptized Christians, after baptism.

Now at last, if you are still with me, everyone celebrates the blessing of belonging to the Catholic Church.  Thanks be to God.

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