January 10, 2013
Dear Colleagues in Catechumenal Ministry:
The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults specifies that the (Arch)Bishop of the (Arch)Diocese has the responsibility to preside at the RITE OF ELECTION and to ratify personally, or through a delegate, the admission of the elect (RCIA text 548). Therefore, all catechumens journeying toward Baptism and all candidates for reception into full communion with the Catholic Church are to celebrate the RITE OF ELECTION and CALL TO CONTINUING CONVERSION, either at St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans or at St. Margaret Mary Church in Slidell.
Those already baptized in the Catholic Tradition (i.e. those preparing for Confirmation only) are considered neither catechumens nor candidates. Therefore, rather than participating in this liturgical service, they are called to take part in the Adult Confirmation celebration at the Cathedral on Pentecost Sunday. Furthermore, infants and other children not enrolled in a Rite of Christian Initiation process adapted for children are not considered as catechumens or candidates. Children who are part of a children’s Catechumenate are to be included in this celebration.
Recognizing that the RITE will take place on a Sunday afternoon [or the following Tuesday], the Rite of Sending [in preparation for the archdiocesan Rite of Election] should be celebrated with simplicity in your parish or mission church on that particular [Sunday] morning. (Please see Par. 536-545 in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults book.)
To accommodate both the Southshore and the Northshore parishes, the following schedule has been established:
|First Sunday of Lent — Southshore —
|Sunday, February 17, 2013 3:00 PM
St. Louis Cathedral, New Orleans
|Tuesday, February 19, 2013 7:00 PM
St. Margaret Mary Church, Slidell
Along with the catechumens and candidates, we also invite their godparents, sponsors, RCIA team members, parish clergy, families and friends to attend. There will be reserved seating in the Church for the parish coordinators/representatives, the candidates and/or catechumens, and their godparents/sponsors. The godparents are to sit next to their catechumens; the sponsors next to their candidates. Pastors, RCIA team members, and spouses of the Elect and Candidates may sit in the reserved pews if space permits. Other family members, friends and parishioners are to sit in the unreserved areas in the Church.
Following the archbishop’s invitation, parish representatives will come forward in groups of five to call the names of their catechumens, who will then come forward to greet Archbishop Aymond and then move into the sanctuary, where they will remain until this portion of the celebration — the Rite of Election — has concluded. All will then return to their pews for the celebration of the Rite of Continuing Conversion.
For the celebration of the Rite of Continuing Conversion, the parish representatives will again be called forward in groups of five. As the candidates’ names are called, they will greet the archbishop and return immediately to their pews. To facilitate the dignified conduct of this liturgy, it is imperative that all coordinators arrive at church for a rehearsal that will take place twenty (20) minutes prior to the start of the celebration.
PLEASE MAKE A NAME TAG FOR EACH PARTICIPANT showing name, parish and city, and indicat what was that e: CATECHUMEN (for those not yet baptized) or CANDIDATE (for those previously baptized in a non-Catholic ceremony). Please give these name tags out at your own parish celebration of the Rite of Sending so the tags can be attached and worn to the celebration at St. Louis Cathedral or St. Margaret Mary Church. Please print the catechumen’s or candidate’s name as large as possible so the Archbishop can call each person by name as he welcomes them during the Rite. The name tags will also be helpful to the ushers responsible for the reserved seating.
Upon receipt of this letter, it is imperative that you go to our website (www.orearchdio-no.com) and click the link on the left-hand side of the page for Rite of Election, in order to access the form for the RCIA Rite of Election. This form must be completed and submitted online to the Office of Religious Education NO LATER THAN February 1, 2013, even if your parish will have no one participating in the Rite of Election. We cannot guarantee reserved seats for those whose forms are submitted after this date.)
May the Lord continue to bless you as you journey with your catechumens and candidates toward this Holy Lenten Season and the celebration of their initiation.
Sincerely in Christ,
Walter L. Bonam
Associate Director of Religious Education
For Evangelization and the Catechumenate
Archdiocese of New Orleans