The Period of the Catechumenate – some important advice from the Ritual book:
See the RCIA Ritual book, pages 37 to 39.
Paragraph 75 tells us that the Catechumenate is an extended period aimed at training candidates in the Christian life. The dispositions manifested at their acceptance are brought to maturity by means of:
1. A suitable catechesis: gradual and complete in its coverage, accommodated to the liturgical year, solidly supported by celebrations of the Word. Not only about acquaintance with dogmas and precepts but about a profound sense of the mystery of salvation in which they desire to participate.
2. They become familiar with the whole Christian way of life, helped by the example and support of sponsors, godparents and the entire Christian community, to turn more readily to God in prayer, to set their hopes on Christ, to follow supernatural inspiration in their deeds and practice love of neighbour even to the cost of self renunciation.
3. “The Church, like a mother, helps the catechumens on their journey by means of suitable liturgical rites, which purify the catechumens little by little and strengthen them with God’s blessing.” They take part in the Liturgy of the Word at Mass but, ordinarily, should be kindly dismissed before the Liturgy of the Eucharist begins.
4. Since the Church’s life is apostolic, catechumens should also learn how to spread the Gospel by witness. (the apostolic work of the Church is its outreach of care and charity).
# 76. “The duration of the catechumenate will depend on the grace of God and on various circumstances… Nothing, therefore can be settled ‘a priori’”. The time should be long enough for conversion and faith to become strong.
# 78. The instruction: while presenting Catholic teaching in its entirety also enlightens faith, directs the heart towards God, fosters participation in the liturgy, inspires apostolic activity, and nurtures a life completely in accord with the spirit of Christ.
# 79. Celebrations of the word of God are foremost. Minor exorcisms and blessings are ordinarily in conjunction with celebrations of the word.
# 80. Provision should also be made for the entire community involved in the formation of the catechumens – priests, deacons, catechists, sponsors, godparents, friends and neighbours – to participate in some of the celebrations belonging to the catechumenate.