The catechumenate is an extended period during which the catechumens and candidates are given suitable pastoral formation and guidance, aimed at training them in the Christian life. Suitable catechesis is gradual and complete in its coverage whereby it leads the catechumens and candidates not only to an appropriate acquaintance with dogmas and precepts but also to a profound sense of the mystery of salvation in which they desire to participate”. (RCIA #75)
The duration of the catechumenate will depend on the grace of God and on various circumstances. The time spent in the catechumenate should be long enough—several years if necessary in order for the conversion and faith of catechumens and candidates to become strong. (RCIA #76)
The instruction received during this period should be of a kind that while presenting Catholic teaching in its entirety also enlightens faith, directs the heart toward God, fosters participation in the liturgy, inspires apostolic activity, and nurtures a life completely in accord with the spirit of Christ. (RCIA #78)
In so doing, those in charge of RCIA formation prepare the catechumens and candidates for the second major liturgical step in the Rite. This step will mark their progress and ascension to the next level of maturation.
- For the Unbaptized — Rite of Election of Catechumens [hereafter referred to as the Elect until Easter].
- For the Baptized — Rite of Call to Continuing Conversion of Candidates who are preparing for Confirmation and/or Eucharist or Reception into the Full Communion of the Catholic Church.
This is if the baptized Candidate is at this particular level of readiness during Lent. It might be that the baptized Candidate is at this stage of readiness at some other point and ready to be received at some point other than Easter.
At this second step… the Church judges their state of readiness and decides on their advancement toward the sacraments of initiation. (RCIA #119)
Prior to the rite of election, the catechumens and candidates must have the intention to receive the sacraments of the Church. (RCIA #120)
Due to the fact that the bishop celebrant declares the Church’s approval of the catechumens and candidates in this rite, there should be a deliberation prior to its celebration to decide on the suitableness of the individual catechumens and candidates participation. (RCIA #122)
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