Sacraments, Rites, and Blessings
Rite of Election
The Office of Christian Formation coordinates the Rite of Election with support from the Office of Worship. Each year, the Rite of Election is in three locations (one in each of the three vicariates). The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults allows for the celebrant to be the Bishop or the Bishop’s delegate (RCIA 12, 121), and the liturgies are celebrated outside of Mass.
For more info on this year’s Rite of Election, visit the Office of Christian Formation’s Website regarding the Rite of Election
The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA)
The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is the way unbaptized persons and those who have been baptized in another Christian tradition enter into full-communion with the Catholic Church. The RCIA is designed for adults (and children of catechetical age) who, after hearing the mystery of Christ proclaimed, consciously and freely seek the living God and enter the way of faith and conversion as the Holy Spirit opens their hearts; it is a process of discerning and ritualizing various stages of gradual conversion. By God’s help, adults and children of catechetical age are strengthened spiritually during their preparation, and at the proper time, they receive the sacraments fruitfully. (RCIA Introduction 1)
For the unbaptized, the RCIA gradually uncovers the story of God’s salvation for all; the mystery of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection; and the workings of the Holy Spirit as revealed in the beliefs, sacramental life, and spiritual practices of the Catholic Church. The initiation of catechumens (the unbaptized in the RCIA) is a gradual process that takes place within the community of the faithful and in accordance with the Church’s liturgical year. Together with the catechumens, the faithful reflect upon the value of the paschal mystery, renew their own conversion, and by their example lead the catechumens to obey the Holy Spirit more generously. (#4)
For Baptized Christians who seek full communion with the Catholic Church, the RCIA includes rites and pastoral practice. (RCIA Part II: sections 4 and 5).
For Baptized Catholics who have received no other faith formation and have not received the sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist, the RCIA mentions pastoral practices to become a fully initiated Catholic (RCIA Part II, section 4).
Sacrament of Reconciliation
The Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions (FDLC) provides free resources for parishes, schools, universities, religious communities, and houses of formation to utilize during the Seasons of Advent and Lent. These resources are provided below and available in English and Spanish. Please note, these resources are updated each year.
Lent, Triduum, Easter Preparation (English)
Lent, Triduum, Easter Preparation (Spanish)
Blessing of Catechists
Catechetical Sunday occurs each year on the third Sunday of September. This particular Sunday is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the role that each person plays, by virtue of Baptism, in handing on the faith and being a witness to the Gospel; it is an opportunity for all to rededicate themselves to this mission as a community of faith.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) offers numerous resources to assist parishes with Catechetical Sunday. To access the general page on the USCCB website, please click here.
In addition, liturgically, please click here to access the Commissioning Service a parish may choose to use; this is provided by the USCCB.
Should you have any questions concerning Catechetical Sunday or the Blessing and Commission of Catechists, please feel free to contact the Office of Worship or the Office of Christian Formation.
Blessing of Godparents
At appropriate milestones in the lives of our communities, we recognize, strengthen, and celebrate our parishioners with ritual blessings in the context of Sunday liturgy.
In a similar vein, in collaboration with the Office of Christian Formation, the Office of Worship is providing several options for developing a new custom of blessing godparents, recognizing their lifelong gift of witness and mentorship to the church, and encouraging them in their evangelizing work. These blessings can be a moment of rededication and commitment for them in their roles. These godparent blessing options follow the order for the blessing and commissioning of catechists, as provided by the USCCB.
Should a parish community choose to develop this optional practice, two blessing options are available by clicking here. Should a parish need such, the blessing options are available in Spanish by clicking here.
Should you have any questions concerning the Blessing of Godparents, please feel free to contact the Office of Worship or the Office of Christian Formation.
- On November 14, 2017, the United States Bishops canonically approved the new translation of the Order of Baptism of Children. This included an Appendix which more clearly delineates the rite within Mass.
- On April 11, 2019, the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments approved and confirmed the revised text of the Order of Baptism of Children.
- On June 10, 2019 (the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church), Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, President of the USCCB, issued a Decree of Publication. In it, Cardinal DiNardo indicates that this rite may be used in the Liturgy as of February 2, 2020, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. Its use is mandatory as of Easter Sunday, April 12, 2020. From that date forward, no other translation of the rite may be used in the dioceses of the United States
- As of August, 2019, five (5) publishers have expressed an interest in printing the new text: Liturgical Press, Catholic Book, Liturgy Training Publications, Magnificat, and USCCB.