The Rite of Acceptance and Welcoming at Saint Patrick Catholic Church was celebrated at Mass at the 10:30 A.M. Mass on November 19, 2017. In the months to follow, the Catechumens and Candidates continue to preparing for full initiation into the Catholic faith through Baptism, Eucharist, and Confirmation.
What is the Rite of Acceptance & Welcoming?
The Rite of Acceptance is an ancient Rite that recognizes the Catechumens decision to begin the process of becoming a member of the Catholic Church through Baptism and welcomes the Candidates, those who have been baptized in another faith or baptized Catholic as a child, but never catechized in the Catholic faith, into the process of full communion with the Church.
The First Threshold Rite
It is the first of the “threshold rites” of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), and the first public ritual. In the Rite of Acceptance, a change of identity takes place: those previously known as inquirers become catechumens. They are officially welcomed by the Church as disciples, members (albeit not yet full members) of the household of faith. The text calls this rite “the first consecration by the Church” of those seeking Christian initiation. They are literally marked with the cross of Christ as God’s own.
At the start of Mass, the priest welcomes the Catechumens and Candidates into the Church at the actual church doors and introduces them to the community. After the homily, they are anointed by the priest, and their senses are blessed by their sponsors after which they received a special Celtic cross as a sign of recognition.
Breaking Open the Word
The parish faith community supports the Catechumens and Candidates on their journey. They are dismissed for the first time after the Rite of Welcoming & Acceptance to go and break open the words of the Gospel— to discuss what was heard in the readings, what did Jesus mean 2000 years ago and what does the Word mean to us today. They continue to do this in the weeks and months to come, including the celebration of the Rite of Election and the Scrutinies until Easter Vigil when the water of the baptismal font is solemnly blessed and any catechumens and candidates for full communion are initiated into the church, by baptism and/or confirmation, respectively.
For all of these, we give thanks and praise to God who has led them by various paths to oneness in faith. excerpted from the Rite of Acceptance
I want to learn more about becoming Catholic!
Kim Ward, Pastoral Associate for Faith Formation