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On Catechumens and Candidates

If you go to the 10:30 Mass, you will no doubt have seen our RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) catechumens and candidates.  These are people who have been inquiring about the Catholic faith and are preparing to be brought into full communion with the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil.

A catechumen is a person seeking baptism.  The word literally means, from the Greek, “a person receiving instruction,” which, for our purposes, is instruction in the life of Christ and the Church He established.  In the last weeks of Lent, catechumens go through a specific time of preparation called the Scrutinies which help them to concretize their resolve to reject the evil one and his temptations to a sinful life, and to embrace with mind, heart, body, and soul the grace that is to come their way as they are baptized.  At the Easter Vigil, they will receive all three of the Sacraments of Initiation…Baptism, Confirmation, and the Most Holy Eucharist.  It is a tremendous grace to have catechumens, to witness the Lord drawing them into relationship with Him, and bestowing a sacred identity on them…Sons and Daughters of God.

A candidate is a person baptized in a non-Catholic Christian ecclesial community who now seeks the fullness of faith in communion with the Catholic Church.  Because they have already been baptized, they need not be scrutinized like the catechumens, but at the Easter Vigil they will make a public profession of faith, and receive the Sacraments of Confirmation and the Most Holy Eucharist.  

Both catechumens and candidates are a great sign of parish growth and health, as the 2nd Vatican Council so clearly stated, “the pilgrim Church is missionary by her very nature” (Ad Gentes, 2).  Our primary objective is to worship God, and like beggars who have found a banquet, we are to call, invite, draw-in, well, everyone, to this feast.  And we should count it as a great grace that people are seeking this holy communion here at All Saints, that the Church is growing.

No matter which Mass you go to, pray for our catechumens and candidates and their sponsors!  And let’s also beg the Heavenly Father for Easter Renewal in our own lives, that from our relationship with the Trinity, we would know our true identity as sons and daughters of God, brothers and sisters of Christ Jesus, and from our identity, we would receive and faithfully execute our mission—the praise and worship of the same Almighty God, and the bringing of the Gospel to every person we meet.

Praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever!
All you holy saints of God, pray for us!

In Christ,
Fr. Michael