Words and Terms to Know for those who minister in the Catechumenate (RCIA):
The RCIA at a Glance: Below are two charts that offer an overview of the different periods of formation with their aims, contents, and time frames for the Catechumenate process / the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults:
Catechumen: One who is not baptized and is preparing for full initiation at the Easter Vigil through baptism, confirmation, and Eucharist.
Candidate: One who is already baptized either in the Catholic Church or another Christian faith and who is preparing to complete his/her Christian initiation through confirmation and Eucharist.
Catechumenate: Second period of formal formation in the process of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults . This period involves intense preparation in word, worship, community life and apostolic works.
Elect: The name given to the catechumens who celebrate the Rite of Election on the first Sunday of Lent with the bishop, signifying their being chosen for the initiation sacraments at Easter.
Godparent: The Godparent serves as a companion for the Christian life for the elect. The Godparent helps the elect integrate into the Catholic community by offering ongoing support, care and the sharing of faith. They participate in the Rite of Election and the celebration of the sacraments of Christian initiation at the Easter Vigil Mass.
Catechumenate Sponsor: A Catechumenate Sponsor is appointed by the parish to accompany any catechumen or candidate through the catechumenate period. Sponsors are persons who get to know their catechumens or candidates and can stand as witnesses to the catechumens’ or candidates’ moral character, faith and intention for the Rite of Election or Rite of Calling the Candidates.
Rite of Election: This is the rite that is celebrated by the bishop, which proclaims the catechumens readiness for their celebration of the sacraments of initiation at Easter. This is usually celebrated on the first Sunday of Lent at the cathedral by the bishop.
Rite of Calling the Candidates to Continuing Conversion: This is the parish rite that proclaims the candidates readiness for their completion of the sacraments of Christian initiation. This is usually celebrated on the first Sunday of Lent at the local parish by the local pastor.