The Rite of Acceptance and Welcoming was celebrated at Saint Patrick Catholic Church at the 8:30 A.M. Mass on December 6, 2015.
What is the Rite of Acceptance?
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, Father Jerry Graham, S.J. welcomed the Catechumens into the Church at the actual church doors and introduce them to the community. After the homily, they were anointed by Father Jerry, and their senses were by blessed by their sponsors after which they received a special Celtic cross as a sign of recognition.
Breaking Open the Word
The community was asked to support the Catechuments on their journey. They were dismissed for the first time 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.