POLICIES: SACRAMENTS


MENUMENU



POLICIES: SACRAMENTS


100 THE SACRAMENTS OF INITIATION

 


Introduction: A Vision for Christian Initiation

There is no greater joy for a parish community than to experience the initiation of new Christians at the Easter Vigil. “O truly blessed night, worthy alone to know the time and hour when Christ rose from the underworld!” (Exultet), the community encounters the risen Christ in the initiation of new disciples; they hear the Easter Gospel proclaimed anew as they see men and women rise with Christ to a new life of grace.

Before the community calls catechumens and candidates to the sacraments of initiation, it must do all that it can to foster a genuine conversion in those to be initiated. The process of conversion is life long and uniquely connected to different levels of human development. Christian initiation presumes that evangelization has begun, that the Word of God has already begun to transform the life of the individual, that there has been a spirit of cooperation on the part of the person to put into practice what one believes and the desire to pattern one’s life on the teaching of Christ. 

The ongoing call to conversion is pivotal for the pastoral understanding of Christian initiation.  All Christians are invited to a more intimate participation in the death and resurrection of Christ, to a fuller appreciation of the Christian tradition of prayer, creed, an ongoing faith formation, and a more active role in the Church’s mission. Consequently, all pastoral efforts to fully implement the order of Christian initiation will inevitably affect the life of the parish.  Prioritizing the evangelizing mission of the Church is critical; all pastoral work must be evaluated through this lens.  The implementation of this sacramental vision of Christian initiation may point to a need for ongoing parish conversion and renewal.

I dream of a “missionary option”, that is, a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything, so that the Church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channeled for the evangelization of today’s world rather than for her self-preservation. (Evangelii Gaudium, no. 27)

Cultural diversity in the Archdiocese must be considered in establishing parish practice. Parishes that share common cultural experiences are encouraged to reflect upon the implications of specific cultural values and customs and collaboratively move toward a consistent practice. While respecting the need for pastoral adaptation, there are nevertheless pastoral norms that need to be honored. These policies and procedures enumerate a number of these norms and clarifies some of the questions that have surfaced from pastoral practice. In promoting a consistent practice in regard to the sacraments of initiation, the hope is that the vision behind these rites will be strengthened.

Organizational Note

This document has been structured into four sections that generally reflects the manner in which parish teams bring people of all ages into the Church through the Sacraments of Initiation. There is duplication of some portions or concepts between these sections in order to make each section essentially a “stand alone” resource for its parish target leadership group.

These sections are:

  • Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults for Adults (Baptism, First Eucharist, Penance and Confirmation) which also includes proper initiation for previously validly baptized adult non-Catholics (Profession of Faith, First Eucharist, Penance and Confirmation);
  • RCIA for children between the ages of 7-18;
  • Baptism of Infants; and
  • Confirmation for Catholics baptized as Infants.


101 RITE OF CHRISTIAN INITIATION OF ADULTS

 


The process of Christian initiation as outlined in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, with its vision for fostering a mature Christian life, is essential to every parish’s wellbeing. The baptismal catechumenate is the model for all catechesis. “The baptismal catechumenate is the source of inspiration of all catechesis” (National Directory for Catechesis, pp. 115; General Directory for Catechesis, nos. 90-91).

The RCIA is a gradual process that takes place within the community of the faithful, who renew their own conversion as they reflect anew on the paschal mystery, and as they witness with their lives to the unbaptized (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, no. 4), conversion of mind and heart, a sufficient acquaintance with Christian teaching, as well as a spirit of faith and charity, obviously take time to achieve.

The formation envisioned in the order of initiation must be spread over a time frame that allows for a consistent hearing and reflection on the word of God, spiritual counsel or direction, a thorough catechesis, learning to pray with the Church, sharing in the Church’s apostolic work and through association with the faithful learning from them the values, morals and spirit of the Catholic community.

101.1.  RCIA IS THE NORMATIVE PROCESS FOR CHRISTIAN INITIATION

The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, as approved for the dioceses of the United States by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops on November 11, 1986 and confirmed by the Apostolic See on February 19, 1987 became the normative and mandatory process for sacramental initiation of new adult disciples of Christ as of September 1, 1988. Decree, National Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1988

101.1.1.  Policy:

In accordance with the Decree promulgated by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops,[1] the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, is the normative process for sacramental initiation of all new adult disciples, in all parishes of the Archdiocese. The rite applies to all individuals seeking initiation who have attained the age of reason. The rite is to be adapted for particular circumstances as provided in the Rite.

Procedures:

  1. a. Pastors, at the delegation of their bishop, along with the pastoral staff, will implement the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults effectively, and integrate this process of conversion toward discipleship into the life of the parish. Christus Dominus, 14, Presbyterorum ordinis, nos. 5 and 6
  2. Individual parishes may collaborate with another parish or other parishes to provide a well-developed process of initiation for the region, particularly if they lack sufficient resources to establish such a process on their own. This is especially helpful either when first implementing the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults or in smaller parishes or when language, cultural or disability situations dictate the need. If these circumstances necessitate that formation takes place in a non-parochial setting such a school, or other institution, the catechumens should nevertheless be introduced to the life of the parish and the rites should be in the catechumen’s parish. National Statutes for the Catechumenate 4
  3. The parish, or group of parishes, will offer a formative process of Christian initiation that follows the guidelines set by the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, which includes the gradual journey of conversion marked by distinct required periods and rituals:
    1. Period of Inquiry ending with the Rite of Acceptance into the Order of Catechumens.
    2. Period of Catechumenate ending with the Rite of Election.
    3. Period of Purification and Enlightenment culminating with the celebration of the sacraments of initiation: baptism, confirmation, and Eucharist.
    4. Period of Mystagogy or post-baptismal catechesis marked by the new experience of the sacraments and the community.

(Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, nos. 6-7)

101.1.2.  Policy:

The sacraments of baptism, confirmation and Eucharist are required for full Christian initiation. CIC 842§2 and CCC no. 1212

Procedures:

  1. The process of Christian initiation is primarily journey of interior conversion leading the seeker to participation in the Paschal Mystery, suffering, death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ. Ad gentes 13§2 and 14§2 This process should not be modeled as an academic year and is not to be equated with completion of an academic certificate, rather this process varies from individual to individual according to God’s grace and the individual’s disposition and cooperation (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, no. 5) Parishes are encouraged to look to establish a year round process that allows those seeking to enter the church to begin their process at any time.
  2. The pastoral and catechetical leaders should be mindful of the catechesis required for each Sacrament of Initiation, such that the essential aspects of the effects of the sacrament are clearly communicated, as outlined below:
  3. Baptism effects forgiveness of all sin and brings one into a new life in Christ. Christian Initiation, General Introduction, 2§1, CCC no. 1263
  4. Confirmation conforms the person more closely to Christ and grants them the gift of the Holy Spirit in order to become witnesses of God’s love. Christian Initiation, General Introduction, 2§2, CCC no. 1296
  5. Eucharist completes Christian initiation. It nourishes the person with the Risen Christ’s body and blood.  In partaking of the Eucharist, the individual offers himself or herself together with Christ as a gift to the Father. Christian Initiation, General Introduction, 2§3, CCC no. 1322

101.2. MINISTERS OF INITIATION

Christian initiation is the responsibility of all the baptized, each according to specific gifts and offices It is a gradual process that takes place in the midst of the community and in accordance with the Church’s liturgical year (Ad gentes no. 14 and Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, nos. 4 and 14). Pastors and pastoral leaders need to remind the faithful of their responsibility in the initiation process.

101.2.1.  Community

Policy:

The community of baptized needs to be formed to fulfill their baptismal vocation to discipleship and their apostolic vocation to give witness to the Gospel and lead others to Christ. They join initiation process by reflecting on the paschal mystery, renewing their own conversion and thus providing them evidence of the spirit of the Christian community.  “The entire community must help the candidates and catechumens throughout the process of initiation.”. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, no. 9

Procedures:

  1. During the evangelization and inquiry period, the community’s mission is to proclaim God’s message in word and in deed. They welcome the inquirers and listen to their stories.
  2. During the catechumenate period, the community continues to participate through witnessing the Gospel messages, being present in the ritual celebrations, praying, and at the Rite of Election, they give testimony of the conversion of those to be initiated.
  3. During the period of purification and enlightenment, the community participates with prayer, by being present in the rites of the scrutinies and presentations, and giving example of a spirit of conversion and penance.
  4. At the Easter Vigil, they renew their baptismal promises.
  5. During the period of Mystagogy, the community welcome the neophytes into the community of the baptized and celebrates the Sunday Eucharist with the newly initiated.
  6. By living lives of charity and justice and by taking an active part in the mission of the Church and its worship, members of the faithful give a convincing witness to all who are preparing for Christian initiation.

101.2.2.  Sponsors and Godparents

The following policies apply to sponsors and godparents of unbaptized adults, including children older than 7 years old, and to sponsors of baptized candidates, who were baptized in the Catholic faith but are uncatechized or who were baptized in different Christian tradition.

Although the Code of Canon Law uses the term sponsor exclusively, the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults makes a distinction between sponsor and godparent of the unbaptized:

  • A sponsor accompanies the person seeking (inquirer) to be admitted to the Order of Catechumens and during the period of the catechumenate. He or she is witness to the inquirer/catechumen’s moral character, faith, and intention and also witnesses the Gospel to those on the RCIA process.
  • A godparent accompanies the catechumen on the day of the Rite of Election, during the period of purification and enlightenment, at the celebration of the Sacraments at the Easter Vigil, and during the period of Mystagogy. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, 10, 11, 45, 46, 119, 122, 123, 244, 404

101.2.2.1 Policy:

In order to be a sponsor or godparent, the person:

  1. Must have completed his or her 16th year unless, for just cause, the pastor or minister of the sacrament in consultation with the Chancellor makes an exception.
  2. Must be a confirmed Catholic who has also received first communion and is leading a life in harmony with the Catholic faith and the role of a sponsor.
  3. Must not be bound by any canonical penalty.
  4. Must not be the parent of the catechumen.
  5. The spouse/fiancé of the catechumen may serve as sponsor/godparent.
  6. A baptized person who belongs to a non-Catholic Christian ecclesial community can only serve as a witness of the Baptism. CIC, Canon 874
  7. The godparent should be chosen by the catechumen and /or the team and approved by the pastor. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, 10, 11, 123, 404
  8. For the baptized, but uncatechized adult who is seeking to complete Christian initiation with Confirmation and Eucharist, the baptismal godparent could be chosen again as godparent, provided that they can carry out the responsibilities of godparents, and that no canonical impediment exists. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, 404

101.2.2.2. Policy:

In addition to the explicit canonical requirements listed in CIC, Canon 874, sponsors and godparents should be ready to commit the time and personal care necessary to nurture and support the candidate, whether a child or an adult. Ideally, they should be willing and available to participate in the catechumenate with their candidate or in the special preparations designed for the parents and family of an infant. One’s godparents can never be changed since they were the historical witnesses to the baptism and have entered a permanent spiritual relationship with the baptized.

101.2.3.  RCIA Director/Coordinator

101.2.3.1. Policy:

The RCIA Director/Coordinator is to be a faithful Catholic well formed in the theology of Christian initiation and in the process of RCIA, including RCIA adapted for children and for teenagers, so that in collaboration with the pastor, pastoral leaders, catechists, and the assembly, a pastoral and evangelizing implementation of the process is offered in the Parish. Additionally, the RCIA Director/Coordinator should collaborate with the sacramental formation ministers/catechists to insure that the parish implements and lives a consistent pastoral theology of Christian initiation.

  1. All RCIA Directors/Coordinators should take the RCIA course through University of Dayton Virtual Learning Community for Faith Formation.
  2. https://vlcff.udayton.edu/courses/course_details.php?course=165
  3. This is the minimum competency required for all RCIA directors/coordinators, whether, they are paid employees or volunteers.
  4. The RCIA Director/Coordinator will offer yearly formation sessions for the team. These sessions can be outsourced or offered by the Director/Coordinator if he or she has already taken the University of Dayton course.

101.2.4.  Catechists/RCIA team

101.2.4.1.  Policy

All those who are involved in the ministry of Christian initiation should be faithful Catholics formed in the theology of Christian initiation and the structure of the process of the baptismal catechumenate. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, no. 16. Respectful of the different stages in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, and mindful of the diversity of gifts among God’s people, it is possible that some of the RCIA team might be most involved in one or two periods of the process than in the entire process.  The formation of the team should take into consideration spiritual, human, intellectual, and pastoral formation.

101.2.5.  Pastoral Ministers (Pastors, Associate Pastors, Deacons, Pastoral Life Directors, Pastoral Associates)

101.2.5.1.  Policy:

Pastors and associate pastors have the ultimate responsibility to oversee the RCIA process, to preside at the liturgical rites proper of the process, and to delegate, as necessary, the preparation of the catechumens and candidates during the distinct stages of the RCIA journey.  Additionally, they have the responsibility of providing pastoral care to the catechumens and candidates, as well as approve the selection of godparents. This would be the responsibility of the Pastoral Life Director if a given parish has such a minister. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, no. 13

101.2.5.2  Policy:

Pastors and associate pastors in the Archdiocese of Baltimore have the authority to depute properly prepared catechists to preside at the minor exorcisms and blessings as long as they are properly prepared to act in this way. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, nos. 12, 16, 34.5, 91, 96; the Book of Blessings, nos. 519-521 and at celebrations of the Word of God. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, nos. 81-89

101.2.5.3Policy:

In parishes where diaconal ministry is present, deacons should be ready to assist in the ministry to catechumens and candidates. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, no. 15

When appropriate, deacons may preside over certain rites at the request of the pastor.

Procedures:

  1. It is the responsibility of the pastor or his designee to ensure that deacons who participate in the RCIA process are formed in the theology of Christian initiation,
  2. Deacons may collaborate with the priest, catechists, and community to form the catechumens and candidates throughout the process of Christian initiation.

101.3 THOSE WHO ARE TO RECEIVE THE SACRAMENTS OF INITIATION

Adults, children, and adolescents who are responding to a prompting of the Holy Spirit to begin a journey towards Christian discipleship are welcomed to Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults process.

101.3.1 Policy:

The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults is the normative process for sacramental initiation for adults and for children older than 7 years old.

The Rite provides norms and guidelines for liturgical rites to be celebrated with the following groups:

  1. Unbaptized Adults; Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, Part I
  2. Unbaptized Children of Catechetical Age; Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, Part II, chapter 2
  3. Baptized but Uncatechized Adults (Catholic or Non-Catholic) seeking Confirmation and Eucharist; Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, Part II, chapter 4
  4. Baptized non-Catholic Christians – Rite of Reception. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, Part II, chapter 5

Procedures:

  1. Year Round Process: The spiritual journey of those entering this process varies from person to person, and thus requires that the pastoral ministers do not limit the process to a school year calendar paradigm of September to May.
  2. Although pastorally it can be more challenging to offer a year around process, this offers a more authentic experience of Christian initiation.

It is important to assist the catechumens and candidates with discernment and assess readiness throughout the process of initiation. 

101.3.2.  Policy:
Pastors, in consultation with the director of the parish catechumenate, catechists, other appropriate ministers, and parents, as appropriate,  are to determine with the catechumen/candidate, their readiness to receive any sacrament of initiation in keeping with the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults and the norms of the National Directory of Catechesis, Chapter 5.35.B. This readiness must include a sufficient familiarity with the nature of each sacrament, in order for the candidate to participate actively and with awareness.

Procedures:

  1. A person with developmental disabilities within a small community of faith can indicate readiness by the following: relationships with people who share faith and prayer, a sense of the sacred as manifested in behavior, and desire for communion. If those with disabilities cannot use words to express their understanding, they can show their awareness by their manner, the expression in their eyes, their gestures, and the quality of their silence. Access to the Sacraments of Initiation, p. 9
  2. Unbaptized Adults (RCIA, Part I)

Unbaptized adults are welcomed into the RCIA process which consists of distinct periods of formation and liturgical rites which mark the transition from one period to another as indicated in 101.1.1.c.

  1. Unbaptized Children of Catechetical Age (RCIA, Part II, chapter 2)

Part II, section 1 of  The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults offers guidelines to adapt the process for children of catechetical age. The rite provides the adaptations for children who “have attained the age of reason and are of catechetical age.” Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, no. 252

The law prescribes that a child older than seven years is presumed to have the use of

reason (CIC, Canon 97 §2).  However, the law does not give an upper age limit on those who are considered children of catechetical age, but the age of fourteen is recommended as the standard upper age because anyone “who has completed the fourteenth year of age can freely choose to be baptized in the Latin Church or in another ritual Church sui iurisCIC, Canon 111 §2.

While the law prescribes that  “The baptism of adults, at least of those who have completed their fourteenth year, is to be deferred to the diocesan bishop”, the faculty to fully initiate an unbaptized adult or child or to confirm a baptized non-Catholic has been delegated to all priests who possess the habitual faculties within the Archdiocese of Baltimore. CIC, Canon 863

101.3.3 Policy:

In accordance to the archdiocesan procedures concerning the protection of minors, children older than 7 years and younger than 18 years should not participate in the same formation gatherings as adults who are part of the Rite of Christian Initiation process.  Nevertheless, these children and/or adolescents shall participate in the liturgical rites of the process together with the adult catechumens and candidates.

  1. Baptized but Uncatechized Adults (Catholic or Non-Catholic) seeking Confirmation and Eucharist (RCIA, Part II, chapter 4)

101.3.4  Policy:

Adults who were baptized, before their 7th birthday, in the Catholic faith or in another Christian community, and who have not received catechetical formation, nor have received Confirmation or Eucharist are welcomed to the RCIA process with some adaptations as specified by the Rite, Part II, chapter 4. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, nos. 400-472

101.3.5 Policy:

Although, they have not heard the proclamation of the Good News and have not been catechized, these adults, by virtue of their baptism are different from the catechumens, since they have already become members of the Church.  According to the rite, these adults are referred to as ‘candidates’ not catechumens. Additionally, the term ‘convert’ should be reserved strictly for those converted from unbelief to Christian belief (the unbaptized) and should never be used to refer to those baptized Christians who are received into full communion of the Catholic Church. National Statutes for the Catechumenate, no. 2

Procedures:

  1. The length of formation and preparation might be lengthy. The aim of the catechetical formation for these candidates corresponds to that of the catechumenate period of the unbaptized. Some elements of the catechumenal formation are appropriate for their formation.  They may participate in as much of the catechumenal formation as necessary, but should not take part in the rites intended exclusively for the catechumens (such as the rite of acceptance, the scrutinies, dismissal of the catechumens, etc.). Nevertheless, they may participate in celebrations of the Word together with catechumens.  National Statutes for the Catechumenate, 25
  2. The community should be involved in the process of completion of initiation of these candidates by witnessing the Gospel and by sustaining them with prayers.
  3. Sponsors present the candidates to the community during the liturgical rites and accompany the candidates during their formation. The baptismal sponsors may be selected as sponsors at this time, provided they still meet the requirements for a sponsor (See above policy no. 101.2.2.1).
  1. Baptized non-Catholic Christians – Rite of Reception (RCIA, Part II, chapter 5)

101.3.6 Policy:

A person baptized in a separated ecclesial Christian community is received according to the Latin rite into full communion with the Catholic Church. The rite of reception is arranged so that “No burden greater than necessary (Acts 15:28) is required for the establishment of communion.” Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, no. 473-504; National Statutes for the Catechumenate, no. 30

Procedures:

  1. Baptism in a non-Catholic Christian community is considered valid when the ritual includes use of water, by pouring or immersion, and pronouncement of the Trinitarian formula are used:
  2. “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
  3. Refer to Appendix A of this document for a list of Christian ecclesial communities whose baptisms are recognized as valid as well as those whose baptisms are not considered valid.
  4. These candidates will follow the preparation process as outlined in the Rite, part II, chapter 4.

101.3.1   The Initiation Process for the Unbaptized Adult (RCIA, Part I)

101.3.1.1.  Policy:

The unbaptized adult who seeks Christian initiation will be welcomed into the gradual journey that includes distinct stages and liturgical rites that mark the transitions from one period to another as outlined below:

Procedures:

  1. Period of Pre-Catechumenate, Inquiry and Evangelization: During this period those desiring the sacraments inquire about the Christian life and the Church (ministers and assembly) evangelizes with words and actions. This period ends with the Rite of Acceptance.  Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, 6, 7, 9.1, 36-40

Focus:  the focal point of ministry for this period is evangelization.  It is in the proclamation of the Good News that the inquirers will be introduced to an encounter with God and the invitation to follow Christ.

Sponsors: A sponsor accompanies the person seeking (inquirer) during the evangelization and pre-catechumenate period and presents the inquirer to be admitted to the Order of Catechumens during the Rite of Acceptance.

Rite of Acceptance:

Discernment The criteria for discerning readiness to participate in the Rite of Acceptance are stated as, “There must be evidence of first faith…and of an initial conversion and intention to change their lives and to enter into a relationship with God….” Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, no. 42

Meaning of the Rite:  The inquirers, having heard the proclamation of the Good News, will gather with the assembly to celebrate the Rite of Acceptance into the Order of Catechumens.   At the conclusion of the period of evangelization and pre-catechumenate, the unbaptized adults declare their intention to begin their period of catechetical instruction to the Church and the Church accepts them as catechumens.

Time of Celebration:  This liturgical rite should be celebrated two or three different times during the year, preferably in Ordinary Time. Celebrating this Rite at the beginning of Advent is a common misconception that has no theological or historical foundation.  The Rite of Acceptance may be celebrated within Mass or outside of Mass, so long as this is not a private ceremony for the RCIA group only. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, nos. 6, 7, 18, 28, 41-74

  1. Period of Catechumenate: This is an extended period of time when the catechumens receive catechesis, with the intended “aim to put the people [catechumens] not only in touch but in communion, in intimacy, with Jesus Christ: only He can lead us to the love of the Father in the Spirit and make us share in the life of the Holy Trinity.” (Catechesi Tradendae, 5, §3).  This period may last a few months or several years, depending on the individual.

Focus:  During the catechumenate, the initial faith that the catechumens expressed at the Rite of Acceptance is nurtured in four ways: catechesis, immersion in the Christian way of life [ongoing conversion lived within the community], liturgical rites, and apostolic works.            Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, nos.75, 78

Liturgy of the Word / Dismissal / Catechesis:  Additionally, during this period, the catechumens are to participate in the liturgy of the Word at Sunday Mass.  After the homily, catechumens are dismissed to reflect on God’s word.  Catechetical sessions can be offered after the reflection time or at another time during the week, depending on the needs of the group. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, nos. 81-89

Sponsors & Godparents: It is during the time of the catechumenate, that the catechumens, with the guidance of the pastoral ministers, choose their godparents to present them to the Church on the day of the Rite of Election.  The godparent may or may not be the same person who has served as the catechumen’s sponsor thus far. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, nos. 6, 7, 80

Non-parochial Settings: If the catechumenal preparation takes place in non-parochial setting, such as a university’s campus ministry, the catechumens should be introduced into the Christian life of a parish from the beginning of the catechumenate, in order that the sacraments of initiation and Mystagogy be celebrated and lived in the context of a parish community. National Statutes for the Catechumenate, no. 4

Minor Rites:  there are several optional minor rites that could be celebrated during the catechumenate; these include celebrations of the Word of God, minor exorcisms, blessings, and anointings. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, nos. 79, 81-103

Catechists who are properly deputed by their pastors may preside at the minor exorcisms and blessings.

Rite of Sendingoptional rite

This rite is to be celebrated at the parish at a suitable time prior to the Rite of Election by the Bishop.  During this rite, the community witnesses to the progress in the formation of the catechumens and gives its approval to send them forth for election. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, nos. 106-117

Rite of Election: 

Discernment: The criteria for discerning readiness to participate in the Rite of Election are stated as, “The catechumens are expected to have undergone a conversion in mind and in action and to have developed a sufficient acquaintance with Christian teaching as well as a spirit of faith and charity.” Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, no. 120

Meaning of the Rite:  At this Rite, the Church, with the counsel of the pastoral team and catechists, considers the catechumens ready to participate in the next period of formation, and thus elects them, in God’s name, to enter the final period of preparation for the Easter Sacraments.  Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, no. 119

Time of Celebration: This liturgical rite marks the beginning of the period of purification and enlightenment.  It is celebrated on the First Sunday of Lent and presided by the bishop or his delegate. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, nos. 6, 7, 9.3, 12, 19, 29, 118-137; National Statutes for the Catechumenate, no. 4.

101.3.1.2. Policy:

In the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Rite of Election is celebrated on the First Sunday of Lent in two sites: the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, and additional site to serve the communities that would have to travel a great distance.  The additional site will be announced when the registration is made available.  The Office of Worship will send to pastoral ministers (priests, deacons, pastoral associates, pastoral life directors, and RCIA coordinators), via email and the archdiocesan bulletin, a registration packet, containing information about the celebration and deadlines for registration. Pastors should encourage parishioners to attend this event as a sign of welcome to the catechumens.

Registration for the Rite of Election does not obligate the catechumen to receive the sacraments at the Eater Vigil; discernment continues throughout the Lent period.

101.3.1.3.  Policy:

When it is not possible for one or several catechumens to attend the Archdiocesan celebration of the Rite of Election, delegation for a pastor to celebrate the rite in a catechumen’s parish must be obtained from the Office of the Chancellor.

101.3.1.4.  Policy:

A record of the catechumens’ election should be kept at the parish, listing their name, their godparent’s name, the presider and the date of the celebration. This record is kept at the parish of the elect.

  1. Period of Purification and Enlightenment: This shorter period begins after the Rite of Election and ends at the Easter Vigil with the celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation.

Focus: During this time the elect enter a reflective time of spiritual preparation characterized by the celebration of the scrutinies and the presentations.  Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, nos. 6, 7, 138-140

Scrutinies

Meaning of the Rites:  Catechumens preparing for baptism (both children and adults) do not celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation prior to baptism. Rather, they celebrate the scrutinies, to help them understand the reality of sin, appreciate the message of God’s pardon and mercy, and their desire for conversion.

Time of Celebration: They are to be celebrated at any of the parish Masses on the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Sundays of Lent using the lectionary readings for year A; the gospel readings for those Sundays in year A present the catechumens with three narratives of encounter with Christ, which will provide them with the essence of their reflection. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, nos.  9.4, 20, 30, 141-146, 150-156; 164-177

Presentations

Meaning of the Presentations:  The Church entrusts to the elect the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer as expressions of the Church’s faith and prayer.

Time of the Presentations:

Both presentations take place at a weekday Mass or a Liturgy of the Word.

The presentation of the Creed takes place during the week following the first scrutiny, namely, during the third week of Lent.

The presentation of the Lord’s Prayer takes place during the week following the third scrutiny, namely, the fifth week of Lent; the Lord’s Prayer can also be presented on Holy Saturday as part of the preparation rites.

For pastoral reasons, the presentations may be presented during the end of the catechumenate period. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, nos.  9.4, 21-22, 147-148, 157-163; 178-184

Preparation Rites

The elect should be instructed to refrain from work and spend time in prayer and reflection on Holy Saturday, and if possible to fast.  It is an option to gather with the elect on the late morning of Holy Saturday and celebrate some of the suggested rituals as presented on the Rite.

Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, no. 185-205

Celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation

101.3.1.5.  Policy:

“Baptism by immersion is the fuller and more expressive sign of the sacrament and, therefore, provision should be made for its more frequent use in the baptism of adults. The provision of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults for partial immersion, namely, immersion of the candidate’s head, should be taken into account.” National Statutes for the Catechumenate, no. 17

101.3.1.6.  Policy:

  1. Any bishop or priest who baptizes an adult or a child of catechetical age should also confer confirmation. The celebration of confirmation and reception of Eucharist should not be deferred. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, no. 14; CIC, Canon 885 2
  2. Any exception from this policy requires consultation with the Chancery Office. Proper delegation for confirmation should be sought. (See table below following 101.6.2.5.)

This is the summit of the liturgical rites celebrated during the process of initiation. This celebration marks the sacramental initiation of the catechumens; however, it does not complete the RCIA process.

Focus of the Celebration: the elect receive pardon for their sins, are strengthened by the Holy Spirit, and share in Christ’s sacrifice.

Time of Celebration:  The elect receive Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist at the Easter Vigil.  For pastoral reasons, the celebration might take place outside the Easter Vigil, preferably Easter Sunday or during a Mass of one of the Easter Sundays.

If Christian initiation is celebrated outside the usual times indicated in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, the texts for the Sunday Masses of the Easter Season, including the readings from the Easter Vigil may be used. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, nos. 6, 23-24, 26-27, 206-243, 247

  1. Period of Mystagogy or Post-Baptismal Catechesis: This period extends through the entire Easter Season and beyond.  This is the time to deepen the commitment to Christian discipleship, spiritual growth, a deeper understanding and participation in the sacraments.  The neophytes, those just initiated, continue their journey to become missionary disciples, as they integrate to the community that has nurtured their faith thus far. Pastors and parish communities should be especially mindful of this important time as an opportunity to further engage the neophytes in the engaging work of the parish.  All efforts should be made to accompany the neophyte through prayer and personal involvement in the parish itself. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, 6, 7, 25, 244-251

101.3.2    Adaptations in the Initiation Process for Unbaptized Children of Catechetical Age (RCIA, Part II, chapter 2)

Part II, section 1 of the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults offers guidelines to adapt the process for children of catechetical age.   The rite provides the adaptations for children who “have attained the age of reason and are of catechetical age.” Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, no. 252

The law prescribes that a child older than seven years is presumed to have the use of reason. CIC, Canon 97 §2.  However, the law does not give an upper age limit on those who are considered children of catechetical age, but the age of fourteen is recommended as the standard upper age because anyone “who has completed the fourteenth year of age can freely choose to be baptized in the Latin Church or in another ritual Church sui iuris.CIC, Canon 111 §2.

Additionally, the law prescribes that “The baptism of adults, at least of those who have completed their fourteenth year, is to be deferred to the diocesan bishop” CIC, Canon 863.

The initiation of children must be understood within the larger context of the parish community. The parish staff will want to work closely with parents to provide a healthy and effective environment within which young children can grow in age, wisdom, and grace. Parish efforts in children’s faith formation, youth and family ministry and liturgical catechesis need to be coordinated in order to provide a consistent and well-integrated vision and pastoral approach.

101.3.2.1 Policy:

In accordance to the archdiocesan procedures concerning the protection of minors, children older than 7 years and younger than 14 years should not participate in the same formation gatherings as adults who are part of the Rite of Christian Initiation process.  Nevertheless, these children and/or adolescents shall participate in the liturgical rites of the process together with the adult catechumens and candidates.

101.3.2.2Policy:

The permission of at least one parent (or legal guardian) is required before a child is accepted into the catechumenate and before the child is initiated into the Church. Pastoral caution should be used and the Chancery should be consulted if the parents disagree. When the child is over the age of 7 years, the parents are strongly encouraged to participate in the process of formation to whatever extent they are able and to offer the support and example the children need. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, no. 254      

  1. Unbaptized children older than 7 years and younger than 14 years. (children catechumens)

Children of catechetical age are old enough to hear God’s call and to respond to it with faith proper to their age. Their Christian initiation requires conversion that is personal, yet congruent with their age.

101.3.2.1.1 Policy:

Unbaptized children older than 7 years and younger than 14 years will be welcomed to the RCIA process, with adaptations as indicated in Part II, chapter 1 of the rite.  Since they have attained the age of reason, they are able to respond with faith proper to their age.  Therefore, their initiation is not based, as is the case with infants, entirely on the commitment of the parents and the faith of the Church, rather it requires an authentic desire to be apprenticed into Christian discipleship.  They will receive Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist at the Easter Vigil with the older catechumens. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, no.252-253; National Statutes for the Catechumenate, no.18

Procedures:

  1. As is the case with anyone on the journey towards Christian initiation, children older than seven and adolescents younger than fourteen, need the community to mentor them and support them. The journey is gradual and takes place within the community of the faithful, who renew their own conversion as they reflect anew on the paschal mystery, and as they witness with their lives to the unbaptized children.
  2. Parents support the children, not only with their consent, but also with their involvement. The example and prayers of peers play a very important role in the process.
  3. The process should be adapted to their spiritual progress and not be limited to a school year calendar paradigm of September to May. Although pastorally it can be more challenging to offer a year around process, this model offers the children and/or adolescent a more authentic experience of Christian initiation.
  4. The process is marked by distinct periods of time and liturgical rites, which are to be observed as follows:
  5. Period of Pre-Catechumenate, Inquiry and Evangelization: During this period the children and/or adolescents desiring the sacraments inquire about the Christian life and the Church (ministers and assembly) evangelize with words and actions.  After initial conversion, and the desire to enter into a relationship with God, this stage ends with the Rite of Acceptance into the Order of Catechumens.

Rite of Acceptance

This liturgical rite should be celebrated two or three different times during the year, preferably in Ordinary Time. They can celebrate the Rite of Acceptance at the same time as the adult seekers or at a ceremony with a smaller congregation outside of Mass.

Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, nos. 257; 260-276

  1. Period of Catechumenate: This is an extended period of time when the children catechumens receive catechetical instruction.   Parish sacramental preparation of children being fully initiated should be distinct from and complementary to faith formation received in the parish faith formation offerings, youth ministry or the Catholic school.

The length of this period varies according to the needs of the individual. Some elements presented in the catechesis of baptized children could be used with children catechumens.  During this period the children participate in the liturgy of the Word at Sunday Mass and, with the help of pastoral ministers, choose their godparents to present them to the Church on the day of the Rite of Election.

It is often the case that unbaptized children attending Catholic schools receive the catechumenal preparation in the school setting.  Nevertheless, they should be introduced into the Christian life of a parish from the beginning of the catechumenate, so that the sacraments of initiation and Mystagogy be celebrated and lived in the context of a parish community.  Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, no. 254; National Statutes for the Catechumenate, nos. 4, 19.

Rite of Election – optional rite

This optional rite may be celebrated with children catechumens, especially after an extended catechumenate. The Rite of Election, presided by the bishop or his delegate, is celebrated on the First Sunday of Lent. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, nos. 6, 7, 9.3, 12, 19, 29, 277-290.

  1. Period of Purification and Enlightenment: This a shorter period begins after the Rite of Election and ends at the Easter Vigil with the celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation.  During this time the children and/or adolescents enter a time of reflection and spiritual preparation, which is characterized by the celebration of the scrutinies and the presentations, both adapted to their age.  Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, 6, 7, 138-140

Scrutinies

The scrutinies are to be celebrated on the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Sundays of Lent using the lectionary readings for year A; the gospel readings for those Sundays in year A present the catechumens with three narratives of encounter with Christ, which will provide them with the essence of their reflection. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, nos. 20, 30, 141-146,

150-156; 164-177; 258; 291-302

Presentations

The presentation of the Creed takes place during the week following the first scrutiny, third week of Lent, and the presentation of the Lord’s Prayer takes place during the week following the third scrutiny, fifth week of Lent; the Lord’s Prayer can also be presented on Holy Saturday as part of the preparation rites. The prayers should be adapted to the level of understanding of the catechumen. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, nos.  21-22, 147-148, 157-163; 178-184; 258

101.3.2.1.2 Policy:

Unbaptized children older than 7 years and younger than 14 years shall receive Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist at the Easter Vigil.  They receive these sacraments in the same sequence as the adult catechumens.  Confirmation shall not be omitted in catechumens of this age group. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, nos. 215, 304-329; National Statutes for the Catechumenate, nos. 18-19; CIC, Canon 842 §2

Celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation

Procedures:

  1. Baptism by immersion is the fuller and more expressive sign of the sacrament (see policy 101.3.1.5). National Statutes for the Catechumenate, 17; Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, no. 213
  2. Children and adolescents shall receive Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist at the same celebration, preferably at the Easter Vigil. After being sacramentally initiated, these young neophytes will continue their journey of faith formation with their peers. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, 304-329; National Statutes for the Catechumenate, nos. 18-19.
  3. The bishop or priest who baptizes these younger catechumens will also be the minister of Confirmation.
  4. Period of Mystagogy or Post-Baptismal Catechesis:

This period extends through the entire Easter Season and beyond.  This is the time to deepen the commitment to Christian discipleship, spiritual growth, a deeper understanding and participation in the sacraments.  The guidelines for this period will be the same as for adults with adaptations necessary for the age of the neophytes.

Parish faith formation or youth ministry, depending on the age of the neophyte, will be instrumental in the period of Mystagogy.

They should be invited to attend the Confirmation of their peers, and should asked to renew their baptismal promises along with the entire congregation.

  1. Children older than 7 years and younger than 14 years, who have been baptized Catholic, have not been catechized, and who are seeking First Eucharist (Catholic children candidates)

101.3.2.2.1 Policy:

Candidates older than 7 years and younger than 14 years, who have been baptized in the Catholic faith as infants, but are not catechized and who are seeking First Eucharist shall be welcomed into the RCIA process so that they may complete their Christian initiation with Confirmation and Eucharist.

101.3.2.2.2  Policy:

The needs of children preparing for reception into the full communion of the Roman Catholic Church may be similar to children who are catechumens. Consequently, their formation and preparation for confirmation and Eucharist may be accomplished together with children who are catechumens.

Procedure:

  1. These candidates shall be welcomed into the RCIA process as outlined in section 101.3.3. – Ministry to Baptized but Uncatechized Catholic Adults, with the adaptations indicated in policy 101.3.3.2 below.
  2. Since these candidates are uncatechized, the length of formation corresponds to that of the catechumenate period of the unbaptized. (See procedure c. 2 under policy 101.3.1.1.)  They may be catechized by attending formation sessions with their peers in the parish faith formation program; however additional sessions might be necessary.
  3. The community should be involved in the process of completion of initiation of these candidates by witnessing the Gospel and by sustaining them with prayers. The parents in particular have a unique role as they will continue to nurture the candidates’ faith after initiation is completed.
  4. Sponsors present the candidates to the community during the liturgical rites and accompany the candidates during their formation. The baptismal sponsors may be selected as sponsors at this time, provided they still meet the requirements for a sponsor (See policy 101.2.2.1).
  5. The following liturgical rites should be celebrated with these candidates:
  1. Rite of Welcoming – optional rite

The adaptations for children do not include a rite of welcoming; however  it could be celebrated for pastoral reasons. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, no. 411-433

  1. Rite of Sending – optional rite

The adaptations for children do not include a rite of sending; however it could be celebrated for pastoral reasons. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, no. 434-445;

Combined Rite – Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults nos. 530-546

  1. Rite of Calling the Candidates to Continuing Conversion

This rite is intended for celebration in communities where there are no catechumens.  The adaptations for children do not include a rite of calling the candidates to continuing conversion; however it could be celebrated for pastoral reasons. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, no. 446-458; Combined Rite – Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults nos. 547-561

  1. Penitential Rite (Scrutiny for the Candidates)

This rite is intended to mark the Lenten period of spiritual reflection and purification Although this rite is similar to the scrutinies of the unbaptized, it is a separate and distinct rite.  It is to be celebrated on the second Sunday of Lent and for the candidates only.  The scrutinies for the catechumens and the penitential rite for the candidates should not be combined. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, nos. 459-472, 303

  1. Sacrament of Reconciliation: the candidates should make a sacramental confession prior to receiving Confirmation and Eucharist. National Statutes for the Catechumenate, 27

101.3.2.2.3  Policy:

These candidates (baptized, uncatechized Catholic children older than 7 years and younger than 14 years) shall complete their sacramental initiation maintaining the traditional sequence of Confirmation before Eucharist.  See CIC, Canon  842 §2 They shall receive Confirmation at the same liturgy in which they receive the Eucharist.  Any exception from this policy requires consultation with the Chancery Office. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults nos. 308, 409; National Statutes for the Catechumenate, nos. 19, 35

Procedures:

Completion of Sacramental Initiation:

  1. The candidates who are older than 7 years and younger than 14 years will complete their sacramental initiation by receiving Confirmation and Eucharist during the same liturgy, preferably the Easter Vigil.
  2. It also possible for these baptized, but uncatechized Catholic young candidates to complete their sacramental initiation during one of the Easter Sunday Masses. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, 308, 409
  3. The USCCB has provided a combined rite for initiation when catechumens and candidates are present, provided that a clear distinction is made during the celebration between the catechumens and the candidates.

101.3.2.2.4  Policy:

If the Bishop cannot be the celebrant, the parish pastor must obtain a special delegation to confirm these Catholic candidates from the Chancery. CIC, Canon 884 §1

Procedures:

  1. The Bishop is the ordinary minister of Confirmation for these candidates –baptized, uncatechized Catholics. See CIC, Canon 884. For reasonable pastoral circumstances, a delegation of faculty to confirm can be requested from the Chancellor by the priest. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, no. 562-565; 566-594; National Statutes for the Catechumenate, nos. 26 and 28.
  2. Children older than 7 years and younger than 14 years, who have been baptized in a non-Catholic Christian faith, and who are seeking Reception into Full Communion with the Catholic Church. (Non-Catholic Christian children candidates)

101.3.3.3.1  Policy:

Children older than 7 years old and younger than 14 years  who were baptized in a non-Catholic Christian ecclesial community, whose baptism is considered valid, are welcomed to the RCIA process so that “no greater burden than necessary is required for the establishment of communion and unity.” Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, no. 473.

According to the rite, these children and adolescents are referred to as candidates.  Additionally, the term ‘convert’ should be reserved strictly for those converted from unbelief to Christian belief (the unbaptized) and should never be used to refer to those baptized Christians who are received into full communion of the Catholic Church.

National Statutes for the Catechumenate, no. 2.

101.3.3.3.2 Policy:

  1. Baptism in a non-Catholic Christian community is considered valid when the ritual includes use of water, by pouring or immersion, and pronouncement of the Trinitarian formula are used: “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
  2. Refer to this list of Christian ecclesial communities whose baptisms are recognized as valid as well as those whose baptisms are not considered valid. (on-line link)

101.3.3.3.2  Policy:

The RCIA process is adapted for the baptized Christian children and/or adolescent candidate as prescribed in Part II,  nos. 1, 4, and 5 of the rite.  As the rite states, “No burden greater than necessary (Acts 15:28) is required for the establishment of communion.,” Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, no. 400-504; National Statutes for the Catechumenate, no. 30

Procedures:

Refer to section §101.3.3 of this document – Adaptations in the Initiation Process for the Baptized but Uncatechized Adults (Catholic or Non-Catholic) seeking Confirmation and Eucharist   (RCIA, Part II, Ch. 4)

  1. By virtue of their baptism, these candidates already are in relationship with the Church in a unique manner, one which sets them apart from the unbaptized. The rite clearly expresses that, “Anything that would equate candidates for reception [into full communion with the Catholic church] with those who are catechumens is to be absolutely avoided.” Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, 483, 565

Therefore, the length of catechetical formation and preparation for these candidates will vary and should be determined according to their needs.

  1. If the children/adolescents have received minimal Christian upbringing, they may participate in as much of the catechumenal formation as necessary, but should not take part in the rites intended exclusively for the catechumens (such as the rite of acceptance, the scrutinies, etc.). They may receive catechetical formation with their peer.
  2. If the children/adolescents have had Christian upbringing, they only need formation in the Catholic tradition and should not take part in a catechumenate parallel to that of the unbaptized. National Statutes for the Catechumenate, 30 and 31.
  3. The community should be involved in the process of reception of these children/adolescents into full communion with the Catholic Church by witnessing the Gospel and by sustaining them with prayers.
  4. Sponsors (See policy no. 101.2.2.1) present the children/adolescents candidates to the community during the liturgical rites and accompany the candidates during their formation. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, 483
  5. For pastoral reasons, and depending on the extent of the catechesis previously received by these candidates, one or more of the optional rites may be celebrated as outlined in Part II, no. 4 of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults and with the adaptations for children provided in no. 2.
  6. The following liturgical rites should be celebrated with these candidates:
  1. Rite of Welcoming – optional rite

The adaptations for children do not include a rite of welcoming; however  it could be celebrated for pastoral reasons. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, no. 411-433

  1. Rite of Sending – optional rite

The adaptations for children do not include a rite of sending; however it could be celebrated for pastoral reasons. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, no. 434-445; Combined Rite – Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, nos. 530-546

  1. Rite of Calling the Candidates to Continuing Conversion

This rite is intended for celebration in communities where there are no catechumens.  The adaptations for children do not include a rite of calling the candidates to continuing conversion; however it could be celebrated for pastoral reasons. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, no. 446-458; Combined Rite – Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, nos. 547-561

  1. Penitential Rite (Scrutiny for the Candidates)

This rite is intended to mark the Lenten period of spiritual reflection and purification Although this rite is similar to the scrutinies of the unbaptized, it is a separate and distinct rite.  It is to be celebrated on the second Sunday of Lent and for the candidates only.  The scrutinies for the catechumens and the penitential rite for the candidates should not be combined. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, no. 459-472, 303

  1. Sacrament of Reconciliation: the candidates should make a sacramental confession prior to receiving Confirmation and Eucharist. National Statutes for the Catechumenate, 36
  2. Rite of Reception

The reception of children older than 7 years old, who have been baptized in non-Catholic Christian denomination, into full communion with the Catholic Church follows the same guidelines that are found in section §101.3.4 of this document, which corresponds to Reception of Baptized Christians into full communion. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, no. part II, chapter 5

101.3.3.3.3  Policy:

The Rite of Reception can be celebrated within Mass or outside Mass.  The sequence of Confirmation before Eucharist (CIC, Canon 842 §2) shall be observed as these candidates are received into full communion with the Catholic Church. Any exception from this policy requires consultation with the Chancery Office. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, nos. 409; 473-504; National Statutes for the Catechumenate, no. 3      

Procedures:

  1. Reception within Mass: The reception of candidates into full communion should normally take place during Mass, preferably a Sunday Mass with the parish community.  The rite instructs that a Mass other than the Easter Vigil is the preferred time for the Rite of Reception.  This is the case in order to avoid any confusion between these baptized Christian candidates and the catechumens and to avoid any perceived triumphalism in the welcoming of these candidates into the Catholic Eucharistic community. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, 475; 487-498; National Statutes for the Catechumenate, nos. 32, 33.

Combined Rite  Celebration at the Easter Vigil of the Sacraments of Initiation for the Catechumens and the Rite of Reception into Full Communion of the Catholic Church:

If for pastoral reasons, there are catechumens to be baptized, and candidates to be received into full communion at the Easter Vigil, the USCCB has provided a combined rite for initiation, provided that a clear distinction is made during the celebration between the catechumens and the Christian candidates.  Combined Rite – Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, nos. 562-594; National Statutes for the Catechumenate, no. 34.

The candidate to be received should always be consulted about the preferred form of reception, during the Vigil, or at a Sunday Mass.  In any case, when the Rite of Reception takes place within Mass, the candidates make a profession of faith, are confirmed, and receive the Eucharist during the same Mass.  Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, no. 475.2, 564

  1. Profession of Faith: those baptized in a non-Catholic Christian faith are not required to make an abjuration of heresy, but simply a profession of faith by reciting the Nicene Creed with the assembly and then affirming to believing in all the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, 479, 491
  2. Confirmation: Although the Bishop is the ordinary minister of Confirmation, a priest receives faculties at the time of his ordination, to confirm baptized Christians within the Rite of Reception.  The confirmation of these candidates should not be delayed. CIC, Canon 885 2; Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, nos. 481; 493-494; 588; National Statutes for the Catechumenate, no. 35.
  3. Eucharist: The Rite of Reception into Full Communion respects the traditional sequence of the sacraments of initiation of Confirmation before Eucharist.  Therefore,  the candidates should not be admitted to the Eucharist until they are confirmed.  The newly received, and if possible all present, should receive Holy communion under both species. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, 483, 498; National Statutes for the Catechumenate, no. 35.
  4. Reception outside of Mass: if for pastoral reasons, the rite of reception is celebrated outside Mass, a Liturgy of the Word should be celebrated.  In order to emphasize the connection between reception into the Catholic Church and Eucharistic communion, it is important that the newly received have the opportunity to participate in a Mass as soon as possible after the rite of reception. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, 476; 499-504

Children younger than 7 years old whose Parents are Received into Full Communion with the Catholic Church

  1. Baptized children younger than the catechetical age become members of the Church at the same time as their parents do. The child’s original baptism is recorded in the parish baptismal register with a note of their being joined to the Catholic Church through the act of their parents’ initiation. (See Archdiocese of Baltimore Handbook for Sacramental Records, p. 13)
  2. Children of parents being received into the full communion of the Catholic Church are ordinarily received into the Church with their parents. The reception of children and adults into full communion needs to be recorded both in the baptismal and the confirmation registers.

101.3.3  Adaptations in the Initiation Process for the Baptized but Uncatechized Adults (Catholic or Non-Catholic) seeking Confirmation and Eucharist   (RCIA, Part II, chapter4)

101.3.3.1. Policy:

Adults who were baptized, before their 7th birthday, in the Catholic faith or in another  Christian community, but have not received catechetical formation, and seek the sacraments of  Confirmation or Eucharist shall participate in some of the elements of the catechumenal process for the unbaptized.  The preparation and liturgical rites are outlined in part II, chapter 4 of the Rite. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, nos. 400-472

  1. Period of Evangelization

Rite of Welcoming – optional rite

Meaning of the Rite:  Those who have been baptized but are not catechized and who seek to complete their Christian initiation of be received into full communion with the Catholic Church are welcomed by the Church as candidates for Confirmation and Eucharist. The candidates acknowledge themselves “to be part of the community because they have already been marked with the seal of baptism”

Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, no. 405

Time of Celebration:  This liturgical rite should be celebrated two or three different times during the year, preferably in Ordinary Time. As is the case with the Rite of Acceptance, celebrating this Rite at the beginning of advent is a common misconception that has no theological or historical foundation.  The Rite of Welcoming  may be celebrated within Mass or outside of Mass, so long as this is not a private ceremony for the RCIA group only.

Combined Rite: For pastoral reasons, this rite may be combined with the Rite of Acceptance into the order of Catechumens, provided a distinction is made between the baptized candidates and the unbaptized. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, nos. 411-433; Combined Rite – Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, nos. 505-529

  1. Period of Catechesis

Although many of the elements of the catechumenal process are valuable to the candidates, they do hold a unique status as having been baptized, and therefore some of the rites shall not be celebrated with the candidates.

Focus:  This period of time corresponds to the catechumenate of the unbaptized.  The catechetical preparation can take considerable time and should be adapted to the needs of the candidates.  Solid catechesis, immersion in the Christian life, participation in certain liturgical rites [not the same as for the catechumens], and apostolic works are the focus of this period. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, nos. 400-403, 408

NO DISMISSAL / Catechesis:  During this period, the candidates participate in Sunday Mass.  Through baptism they already share in the priestly office of Christ and as such should not be dismissed after the homily.  Catechetical sessions can include reflection on the Sunday readings. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, nos. 81-89.

Non-parochial Settings: If the catechetical formation takes place in non-parochial setting, such as a school’s campus ministry, the candidates should be introduced into the parish community life as soon as possible, in order that the sacraments of initiation and Mystagogy be celebrated and lived in the context of a parish family.

Rite of Sending – optional rite

This rite is to be celebrated at the parish at a suitable time prior to the Rite of Recognition by the Bishop and for the Call to Continuing Conversion (see below). It may be celebrated as a Combined Rite with the Rite of Sending Catechumens for Election. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, no. 434-445; Combined Rite – Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, nos. 530-546.

Rite of Calling the Candidates to Continuing Conversion

This rite is intended for celebration in communities where there are no catechumens.  It is celebrated at the beginning of Lent and the presider is the pastor of the parish.  It can also be celebrated as Combined Rite with the Rite of Election of the Catechumens having the Bishop as celebrant. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, no. 446-458;

Combined Rite – Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, nos. 547-561

  1. Period of Purification and Enlightenment: This shorter period coincides with Lent ends at the Easter Vigil with the celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation.

Focus: During this time the candidates enter a reflective time of spiritual preparation characterized by penitential services.  Preparation for the sacrament of Reconciliation also takes place during this period. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, no. 408

Penitential Rite (Scrutiny for the Candidates)

This rite is intended to mark the Lenten period of spiritual reflection and purification as the candidates enter the last stage of preparation prior to receiving the Sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist.  Although this rite is similar to the scrutinies of the unbaptized, it is a separate and distinct rite.  It is to be celebrated on the second Sunday of Lent and for the candidates only.  The scrutinies for the catechumens and the penitential rite for the candidates should not be combined. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, no. 459-472

Sacrament of Reconciliation: the candidates should make a sacramental confession prior to receiving Confirmation and Eucharist. National Statutes for the Catechumenate, nos. 27, 36

Completion of Sacramental Initiation:

101.3.3.2  Policy:

These candidates (baptized, uncatechized Catholic adults) shall complete their sacramental initiation maintaining the traditional sequence of Confirmation before Eucharist. CIC, Canon  842 §2. Any exception from this policy requires consultation with the Chancery Office. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, nos. 409; National Statutes for the Catechumenate, nos. 2, 35

Focus of the Celebration: This constitutes the high point of the liturgical rites celebrated with the candidates.

Baptized in the Catholic faith: These persons will make a profession of the faith into which they were baptized.

Baptized in non-Catholic Christian traditions: These persons are not required to make an abjuration of heresy, but simply a profession of faith by reciting the Nicene Creed with the assembly and then and then affirming to believing in all the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims.

This celebration marks the completion sacramental initiation of the baptized Catholic candidates or the reception into full communion with the Catholic Church for those baptized in other Christian traditions; however, it does not complete the RCIA process.

Time of Celebration:  The candidates shall receive Confirmation and Eucharist at the Easter Vigil.  For pastoral reasons, the celebration might take place outside the Easter Vigil, preferably Easter Sunday or during a Mass of one of the Easter Sundays. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, no. 409

Combined Rite: The USCCB has provided a combined rite for initiation when catechumens and candidates are present, provided that a clear distinction is made during the celebration between the catechumens and the candidates.

Minister of Confirmation

For baptized, uncatechized Catholic:  the Bishop is the ordinary minister of Confirmation.  For reasonable pastoral circumstances, a delegation of faculty to confirm can be requested to the Chancellor by the priest. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, no. 562-565; 566-594;  CIC, Canon 884 §1; National Statutes for the Catechumenate, nos. 26 and 28.

For those baptized in non-Catholic Christian Faiths, priests in the Archdiocese of Baltimore are granted faculties from the Archbishop to be the ministers of Confirmation for these candidates, including children older than 7 years.  Those with faculties to confirm are bound to exercise it.

CIC, Canons 883§2; 885§2; National Statutes for the Catechumenate, no. 35

101.3.4.  Reception of  Baptized non-Catholic Christians into Full Communion with the Catholic Church (RCIA, Part II, chapter 4)

101.3.3.1  Policy:

Adults and children older than 7 years old who were baptized in a non-Catholic Christian ecclesial community, whose baptism is considered valid, are welcomed to the RCIA process so that “no greater burden than necessary is required for the establishment of communion and unity.”  Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, no. 473.

According to the rite, these adults are referred to as candidates.  Additionally, the term ‘convert’ should be reserved strictly for those converted from unbelief to Christian belief (the unbaptized) and should never be used to refer to those baptized Christians who are received into full communion of the Catholic Church; National Statutes for the Catechumenate, no. 2.

Procedures:

  1. Baptism in a non-Catholic Christian community is considered valid when the ritual includes use of water, by pouring or immersion, and pronouncement of the Trinitarian formula are used: “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
  2. Refer to Appendix A for a list of Christian ecclesial communities whose baptisms are recognized as valid as well as those whose baptisms are not considered valid.

101.3.3.3  Policy:

The Rite of Reception can be celebrated within Mass or outside Mass.  The sequence of Confirmation before Eucharist (CIC, Canon 842 §2) shall be observed as these candidates are received into full communion with the Catholic Church. Any exception from this policy requires consultation with the Chancery Office. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults nos. 409; 473-504;

National Statutes for the Catechumenate, no. 35 

Procedures:

  1. Reception within Mass: The reception of candidates into full communion should normally take place during Mass, preferably a Sunday Mass with the parish community.  The rite instructs that a Mass other than the Easter Vigil is the preferred time for the Rite of Reception.  This is the case in order to avoid any confusion between these baptized Christian candidates and the catechumens and to avoid any perceived triumphalism in the welcoming of these candidates into the Catholic Eucharistic community. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, 475; 487-498; National Statutes for the Catechumenate, nos. 32, 33

Combined Rite  Celebration at the Easter Vigil of the Sacraments of Initiation for the Catechumens and the Rite of Reception into Full Communion of the Catholic Church:

If for pastoral reasons, there are catechumens to be baptized, and candidates to be received into full communion at the Easter Vigil, the USCCB has provided a combined rite for initiation, provided that a clear distinction is made during the celebration between the catechumens and the Christian candidates.  Combined Rite – Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, nos. 562-594; National Statutes for the Catechumenate, no. 34

The candidate to be received should always be consulted about the preferred form of reception, during the Vigil, or at a Sunday Mass.  In any case, when the Rite of Reception takes place within Mass, the candidates make a profession of faith, are confirmed, and receive the Eucharist during the same Mass.  Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, no. 475.2, 564

  1. Profession of Faith: those baptized in a non-Catholic Christian faith are not required to make an abjuration of heresy, but simply a profession of faith by reciting the Nicene Creed with the assembly and then and then affirming to believing in all the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, 479, 491
  2. Confirmation: Although the Bishop is the ordinary minister of Confirmation, a priest receives faculties at the time of his ordination, to confirm baptized Christians within the Rite of Reception.  The confirmation of these candidates should not be delayed. CIC 885 §2; Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, nos. 481; 493-494; 588; National Statutes for the Catechumenate, no. 35
  3. Eucharist: The Rite of Reception into Full Communion respects the traditional sequence of the sacraments of initiation of Confirmation before Eucharist.  Therefore,  the candidates should not be admitted to the Eucharist until they are confirmed.  The newly received, and if possible all present, should receive Holy communion under both species. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, 483, 498; National Statutes for the Catechumenate, no. 35
  4. Reception outside of Mass: if for pastoral reasons, the rite of reception is celebrated outside Mass, a liturgy of the Word should be celebrated.  In order to emphasize the connection between reception into the Catholic Church and Eucharistic communion, it is important that the newly received have the opportunity to participate in a Mass as soon as possible after the rite of reception. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, 476; 499-504

101.3.5  Adaptations in the Initiation Process for Baptized Eastern Catholics seeking Reception into Full Communion with the Catholic Church (section within RCIA Part II, chapter 4)

In the Catholic Church there are different liturgical traditions or rites, which differ in liturgy, ecclesiastical discipline, and spiritual heritage.   There are six families of liturgical traditions in the Catholic Church, one family is in the Western Church and five in the Eastern.  In the Western Catholic Church, the Latin or Roman rite is the most common, and in the Eastern Catholic Church there are twenty-three rites which belong to one of the following five families: [the CCEO lists five traditions, while the CCC lists them as six]

Western Catholic Church

  1. Roman (Latin)
  2. Ambrosian (Milanese)
  3. Mozarabic
  4. Bragan
  5. Catholic Orders Rites

Eastern Catholic Church

  1. Alexandrian (Coptic)
  2. Antiochian (West Syriac or Maronite)
  3. Armenian
  4. Chaldean (East Syriac) and
  5. Constantinopolitan (Byzantine)

Orientalium Ecclesiarum, nos. 2-3

Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1203

Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium [CCEO],  no. 28

101.3.5.1.  Policy:

For Christians baptized in the Eastern Church who wish to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church, NO liturgical rite is required, but simply a profession of faith. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, no. 474

101.3.5.2.  Policy:

Eastern Catholic Churches are self-governing particular churches -sui iuris-  in union with the Bishop of Rome; therefore those who have been baptized in an Eastern Catholic Church listed below are not candidates for reception into the Latin (Roman) Western Catholic Church.  They are already Catholic and should retain their own rite. Orientalium Ecclesiarum, no. 4 §3

Eastern Catholic Churches Grouped According to Liturgical Tradition

Alexandrian (Coptic)

  1. Coptic Catholic Church
  2. Ethiopian Catholic Church
  3. Eritrean Catholic Church [established Jan. 2015]

Antiochian (West Syrian)

  1. Maronite Catholic Church
  2. Syriac Catholic Church
  3. Syro-Malankara Catholic Church

Armenian

  1. Armenian Catholic Church

Chaldean (East Syrian)

  1. Chaldean Catholic Church
  2. Syro-Malabar Catholic Church

Constantinopolitan (Byzantine)

  1. Albanian Catholic Church
  2. Belarusian Catholic Church
  3. Bulgarian Greek Catholic Church
  4. Byzantine Church of Croatia, Serbia & Montenegro
  5. Greek Byzantine Catholic Church
  6. Hungarian Greek Catholic Church
  7. Italo-Albanian Catholic Church
  8. Macedonian Catholic Church
  9. Melkite Greek Catholic Church
  10. Romanian Church United with Rome
  11. Russian Catholic Church
  12. Ruthenian Catholic Church
  13. Slovak Byzantine Catholic Church
  14. Ukrainian Catholic Church

101.3.5.3.  Policy:

A baptized Eastern Catholic cannot transfer to the Latin Catholic rite simply by virtue of having received sacraments in the Latin Church frequently or for a prolonged period of time. CIC, Canon 112 §2

101.3.5.4.  Policy:

A transfer of enrollment from an Eastern Catholic Church to the Latin Western Church can take place in special circumstances or with permission from the Apostolic See.  However, such a transfer is not considered under any circumstances part of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. No liturgical rite is necessary. CIC, c. 112 §1

Procedures:

Transfer from an Eastern Catholic Church to the Latin Western Catholic Church is possible when:

  1. The baptized Eastern Catholic has obtained permission from the Apostolic See
  2. The baptized Eastern Catholic marries a Latin rite Catholic and desires to transfer to the Latin rite.
  3. Children under the age of fourteen baptized in an Eastern Catholic Church, whose parent legitimately transferred to the Latin rite.

101.3.6 Adaptations in the Initiation Process for Baptized Eastern Orthodox Christians (non-Catholics) seeking Reception into Full Communion with the Catholic Church (section within RCIA Part II, chapter 4)

There are several groups of non-Catholic Eastern Churches.  The most common among them is the Orthodox Church.  The non-Chalcedonian Church, the Syrian Jacobite, and the Assyrian Church of the East are also Eastern Churches which are not in communion with Rome.

101.3.6.1.  Policy:

When a baptized Eastern non-Catholic Christian seeks reception into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church, “no liturgical rite is required, but simply a profession of faith.”  Confirmation is not celebrated because the Catholic Church believes that the Chrismation given at the time of Baptism is the Eastern Orthodox churches is a sacrament. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults,  no. 474; Orientalium Ecclesiarum, no. 25; CIC, Canon 864;  Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium [CCEO], no. 897

Procedures:

  1. A baptized catechized Eastern Orthodox adult or child over the age of 7 years is received into communion with the Catholic Church by making a profession of faith. Confirmation is omitted.
  2. Eastern Orthodox Christians who enter into full communion with the Catholic Church should only receive minimal formation. National Statutes for the Catechumenate, 30

101.3.6.2.  Policy:

When a baptized Eastern Orthodox non-Catholic) becomes Catholic, he or she is received into the parallel Eastern Catholic Church, not into the Latin/Roman (Western) Church.  In special circumstances, a request can be made to the Apostolic See requesting a transfer of rite from an Eastern Catholic to a Roman Catholic; Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults,  no. 474; Orientalium Ecclesiarum, no. 25; CIC, Canon 864;  Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium [CCEO], no. 35, 36

Procedures:

  1. For example if a Coptic Orthodox person wants to become Catholic, he or she is received into the Coptic Catholic Church. Ideally the ceremony of reception would take place in the Coptic Catholic Church.  Even if the ceremony takes place in a Roman Catholic Church, the person is still enrolled in the corresponding Eastern Catholic Church.
  2. If a request for transfer to the Roman Catholic Church is requested, refer to section 101.3.4.2 of this policy. Such a transfer is possible when:
    1. The newly received Eastern Catholic has obtained permission from the Apostolic See;
    2. The newly received Eastern Catholic marries a Latin rite Catholic and desires to transfer to the Latin rite; or
    3. Children under the age of fourteen baptized in the Orthodox (Eastern non-Catholic) Church, whose parent legitimately transferred to the Latin rite.

101.3.6.3.  Policy:

Eastern Orthodox Christians who are received into an Eastern Catholic Church can receive the Eucharist at a Roman Catholic Church without requesting a transfer of rites.

Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, no. 474; Unitatis Redintegratio no. 15.3

101.4 PROPER PASTORAL TERMS

101.4.1.  Policy:

The term “catechumen” is only to be used for the unbaptized who have been admitted into the Order of Catechumens. Baptized Christians being received into full communion of the Roman Catholic Church are referred to as “candidates.” National Statutes for the Catechumenate, no. 2 The term “elect” refers to catechumens that have celebrated the Rite of Election.

101.5. SPECIAL PASTORAL CONCERNS FOR CATECHUMENS AND CANDIDATES

There are a number of pastoral issues that arise in the ministry of Christian initiation of Adults. The following policies and procedures are intended to assist pastoral ministers in resolving some of the most common issues.

101.5 Policy:Catechumens are in union with the Church in a unique way, and as such they receive certain prerogatives proper to Christians, in particular concerning marriage and burial. CIC, Canon 206; Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, no. 47; National Statutes for the Catechumenate, no. 8

101.5.1.  Christian Marriages Involving Catechumens

101.5.1.1  Catechumens Desiring / Requesting Marriage in the Church

101.5.1.1.1  Policy:

Provided there are no impediments to marriage, catechumens are invited to celebrate their marriage in the Church. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults,  no. 47; National Statutes for the Catechumenate, no. 10, CIC, Canon 1058, CCEO 778; See also Archdiocesan policies on the Sacrament of Marriage, 400, XXX on-line link.

101.5.1.1.2.  Policy:

When a catechumen marries a Catholic, the Catholic party is required by Church law to request a dispensation (disparity of cult). CIC, Canon 1124; see also the policy on the Sacrament of Marriage for the Archdiocese of Baltimore 402.7.5

Procedures:

  1. If two catechumens marry or a catechumen marries a non-Catholic Christian or unbaptized person, no dispensation needs to be granted for the catechumen. However the prenuptial questionnaire should still be completed and filed with other parish marriage records. It should be noted on the prenuptial questionnaire that the marriage involved a catechumen. Where there is doubt about the proper procedure, consult the Judicial Vicar.
  2. The same kind of pastoral care should be provided for catechumens preparing for marriage as for baptized Christians who marry in the Church.
  3. The marriage should be celebrated at a Liturgy of the Word, not at the Eucharistic Liturgy. Chapter III of the Rite of Marriage is to be used.
  4. The marriage should be properly recorded in the parish marriage record book and in the parish book of catechumens.

101.5.1.2.  Catechumens or Candidates who are previously married

101.5.1.2.1.  Policy:

  1. Unbaptized adults who need a declaration of nullity from a previous marriage, are free to participate in the Rite of Acceptance and enter the Order of Catechumens;
  2. Previously married catechumens cannot, however, be accepted for the Rite of Election until the declaration of nullity is granted;
  3. Previously married candidates who need a declaration of nullity cannot be accepted for the Rite of Calling candidates to Continuing Conversion;
  4. During initial interviews, pastoral staff should be diligent in procuring information necessary pertaining to any previous marriage in order to determine if a declaration of nullity is needed; and
  5. It is of utmost importance that pastoral staff communicates clearly with catechumens or candidates who need of a declaration of nullity, concerning the delay in receiving the Sacraments of Initiation until the declaration of nullity has been received.

101.5.1.2.2.  Policy:

  1. A catechumen or a candidate who is divorced and not remarried, and does not intend to remarry, does not need a declaration of nullity to be accepted for the Rite of Election, the Rite of Calling the Candidates to Continuing Conversion, or, consequently, to celebrate the sacraments of initiation.
  2. However, it is important for pastoral staff to communicate clearly to the catechumens or candidates that a future marriage in the Church, without a declaration of nullity is not possible.
  3. Consultation on this matter and presentation of marriage cases should be made to the Archdiocesan Tribunal which is prepared to give special attention to these cases.

101.5.1.3.  Married Catechumens or Candidates Who Need Validation of Marriages

101.5.1.3.1.  Policy:

When a marriage must be validated in the Church, the validation ceremony shall take place prior to celebrating the initiation sacraments. One cannot enter the full sacramental life of the Church unless one is completely free to receive the sacraments. It is pastorally advisable to validate the marriage in the church as early in the process as possible. The only exception involves the Pauline Privilege case and the Judicial Vicar or Chancellor must be consulted for the proper procedure.

101.5.1.4.  Marriage Preparation for Catechumens or Candidates

101.5.4.1.  Policy:

When a catechumen or candidate is engaged to be married, the initiation process shall not be rushed merely to allow for initiation before the marriage is celebrated.

Procedures:

  1. Because Christian marriage is a serious vocation, its preparation should not be neglected or weakened because of one’s participation in the catechumenate. It may be more appropriate to concentrate on the preparation for Christian marriage and extend the catechumenate.
  2. It is always pastorally prudent and wise to refer the newly married couple to their respective pastoral leader who can then assume the responsibility for seeing that the non-baptized person, catechumen, or candidate has the opportunity to complete their initiation.
  3. Pastoral ministers are reminded that candidates do not need to participate in an entire catechumenal process, as would catechumens. National Statutes for the Catechumenate, 30

101.5.2.  Christian Burial of Catechumens and Candidates

101.5.2.1  Policy:

Christian burial can be granted catechumens and candidates. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, no. 47; National Statutes for the Catechumenate, nos. 8, 9; CIC 1183§1, §3; See also the Funeral Rites Policy of the Archdiocese of Baltimore 201.5

Procedures:

The funeral liturgy, including the funeral Mass, should be celebrated as usual, omitting only language referring directly to the sacraments which the catechumen or candidate has not received in the Catholic Church. In view of the sensibilities of the immediate family of the deceased catechumen or candidate, the funeral liturgy outside Mass may be celebrated. National Statutes for the Catechumenate 9

101.5.2.  Abbreviated Form of the Order of Initiation

101.1.3Policy:

The integrity of the Church’s rites is to be maintained. When extraordinary circumstances prevent the catechumen from completing all the steps of the catechumenate; when the catechumen has reached a depth of Christian conversion and a degree of religious maturity; or when it is a question of disability, advanced age or serious illness (RCIA nos. 381-389); the parish may receive the Archbishop’s permission to use the abbreviated form of the order of initiation as given in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, Part II,  no. 2, by contacting the Office of Worship or the Chancery Office.

The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults for Unbaptized Adults and Children older than 7 years old (See section §101.3.1) 

Rite or Celebration

(References are from the RCIA ritual text)

Who Presides When Where
Rite of Acceptance

adults  National Statutes for the Catechumenate, nos. 18, 28, 41-74

children National Statutes for the Catechumenate, nos. 260-276

priest

 

or deacon  (if outside of Mass)

As many times as needed (preferably on Ordinary Time) throughout the year at a Sunday Mass or celebration of the Word Parish Church
Celebrations of the

Word of God

National Statutes for the Catechumenate, nos. 81-89*

At Mass with dismissal National Statutes for the Catechumenate, no. 67

priest, deacon or

designated lay minister

Throughout the Period of the Catechumenate

 

Church, chapel or meeting place for the catechumenate
Minor Exorcisms

[optional]

National Statutes for the Catechumenate, nos. 90-94*

priest, deacon or designated lay minister During the Period of the Catechumenate

(beginning or end of a meeting, or when a special need arises for an individual)

Church, chapel or meeting place for the catechumenate
Blessing of the Catechumens

[optional]

National Statutes for the Catechumenate, nos. 95-97*

priest, deacon or designated  lay minister During the Period of the Catechumenate

(end of a celebration of the Word or catechetical meeting, or when a special need arises for an individual)

Church, chapel , meeting place for the catechumenate or other appropriate place
Anointing of the Catechumens

[optional]  National Statutes for the Catechumenate,  nos. 98-103*

[Oil of Catechumens]

priest or deacon After the homily during a celebration of the Word,

Could be celebrated privately for pastoral reasons

Church, chapel or meeting place for the catechumenate
Rite of Sending of the Catechumens for Election

[optional]

National Statutes for the Catechumenate, nos. 106-117

priest At a suitable time prior to the Rite of Election during a Mass or celebration of the Word Parish church
Rite of Election

Adults National Statutes for the Catechumenate, nos.  19, 29, 118-137

children National Statutes for the Catechumenate, nos. 277-290

bishop or his delegate 1st  Sunday of Lent

during Mass

or

If outside of Mass, readings for 1st Sun of Lent are used

Cathedral church or a parish church, or, as indicated by the bishop
Scrutinies

National Statutes for the Catechumenate, nos. 20, 30, 141-146,

1st Scrutiny  National Statutes for the Catechumenate, nos. 150-156

2nd Scrutiny National Statutes for the Catechumenate, nos. 164-170

3rd  Scrutiny National Statutes for the Catechumenate, nos. 171-177

children  National Statutes for the Catechumenate, nos. 291-302

 priest or deacon *using readings Year A

1st  Scrutiny -3rd Lent Sunday

2nd Scrutiny- 4th Lent Sunday

3rd Scrutiny – 5th Lent Sunday or during the      corresponding weeks

preferably during Mass

Parish church
Presentations

National Statutes for the Catechumenate,  nos. 21, 147 / children (National Statutes for the Catechumenate, no. 258

Creed [Apostles or Nicene]
National Statutes for the Catechumenate, nos. 148, 157-163

Lord’s Prayer

National Statutes for the Catechumenate, nos. 149, 178-184

priest, deacon or designated lay minister *Creed presented during the 3rd week of Lent &

*The Lord’s Prayer presented during the 5th week of Lent.

(May be transferred to the Period of Catechumenate)

Parish church, chapel or meeting place for the catechumenate
Preparation Rites

National Statutes for the Catechumenate, nos. 22, 185-205

priest or deacon Morning of Holy Saturday Parish church, chapel or meeting place for the catechumenate
Celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation

Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist adults National Statutes for the Catechumenate, nos. 23, 206-243

Children National Statutes for the Catechumenate, nos. 304-329

*children should be fully initiated at the Vigil, i.e. receive all 3 sacraments

National Statutes for the Catechumenate, no. 18

bishop or  priest

**the same minister baptizes and confirms, therefore a deacon may not baptize at the Vigil

Easter Vigil normative

(if necessary, Easter Sunday, or the Easter Octave or Season, or on an appropriate Sunday)

Parish church

Rites for Adults Baptized Catholic but Uncatechized seeking Confirmation & Eucharist and for Adults Baptized in other Christian Communities seeking Full Communion with the Catholic Church.   (See also Policy 101.3.2) 

Rite or Celebration

(References are from the RCIA ritual text)

Who Presides When Where
Rite of Welcoming

[optional]

National Statutes for the Catechumenate, nos. 411-433

priest or deacon As many times as needed (preferably on Ordinary Time) throughout the year at a Sunday Mass or celebration of the Word Parish church
Celebrations of the

Word of God

National Statutes for the Catechumenate,  nos. 81-89

NO Dismissal during Mass

priest, deacon or

designated lay minister

Throughout the Period of the Catechumenate

 

Church, chapel or meeting place for the catechumenate
Presentations

National Statutes for the Catechumenate, nos. 21, 147 / children National Statutes for the Catechumenate, no. 258

Creed [Apostles or Nicene]
National Statutes for the Catechumenate, nos.148, 157-163

Lord’s Prayer

National Statutes for the Catechumenate, nos. 149, 178-184

priest, deacon or designated lay minister *Creed presented during the 3rd week of Lent &

*The Lord’s Prayer presented during the 5th week of Lent.

(May be transferred to the Period of Catechumenate)

Parish church, chapel or meeting place for the catechumenate
Rite of Sending of the Candidates for Recognition by the Bishop and

for the Call to Continuing Conversion

[optional]

National Statues for the Catechumenate, nos. 434-445

priest At a suitable time prior to the Call to Continuing Conversion during a Mass or celebration of the Word

 

Parish church
Rite of Calling the Candidates to Continuing Conversion

National Statues for the Catechumenate, nos. 446-458

Pastor of the parish or the properly designated priest Beginning of Lent or six weeks before the Rite of Reception Parish church
Penitential Rite (Scrutiny) National Statues for the Catechumenate, nos. 459-472

DISTINCT from  the Scrutinies for the Catechumens

Priest 2nd Sunday of Lent

(or during that week)

 

Parish church
Sacrament of Reconciliation

National Statutes for the Catechumenate, nos. 27, 36

Priest Sometime before the candidate receives Confirmation and Eucharist Parish church
Sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist National Statues for the Catechumenate, nos. 28, 29, 35

For baptized Catholics:

National Statues for the Catechumenate, nos. 409, 491, 493- 498

For those baptized in other Christian faith:

(see reception into full communion)

National Statutes for the Catechumenate, nos. 481-484; 487-503

Baptized Children

National Statutes for the Catechumenate, nos. 309; 322-329

They must complete their initiation at the same celebration (Confirmation and Eucharist) National Statutes for the Catechumenate, no. 308

Priest with appropriate faculties to confirm

 

For baptized Catholics:

-priest must obtain permission from the Chancery

 

For those baptized in other Christian faiths:

In Archdiocese of Baltimore

faculties to confirm candidates baptized in other Christian faiths, are granted through diocesan faculties

For Baptized Catholics

Easter Vigil

 

For those baptized in other Christian faiths:

At the Sunday Eucharist throughout the year, preferably NOT at the Easter Vigil, National Statutes for the Catechumenate, nos. 32-33; Or outside Mass for serious reason.

Parish church

Rite of Reception of Baptized Christian Candidates seeking Full Communion with the Catholic Church

Rite or Celebration

(References are from the RCIA ritual text)

Who Presides When Where
Rite of Reception of Baptized Christians into

Full Communion of the Catholic Church National Statutes for the Catechumenate, no. 473-504

*profession of faith

*Confirmation

*Eucharist

 

Children baptized in other Christian faiths.

National Statutes for the Catechumenate, no. 309; 322-329

They must complete their initiation at the same celebration (Confirmation and Eucharist) National Statutes for the Catechumenate, no. 308

priest

 

In Archdiocese of Baltimore

faculties to confirm candidates baptized in other Christian faiths, are granted through diocesan faculties

 

At the Sunday Eucharist throughout the year, preferably NOT at the Easter Vigil, National Statutes for the Catechumenate, nos. 32-33 Or outside Mass for serious reason. Parish church
Those baptized in an Eastern Catholic Church

DO NOT participate in the Rite of Reception

They are already Catholic

 

 

 

Those baptized in an

Eastern non-Catholic Church

*Confirmation

IS  OMITTED

 

*They are received into the parallel Eastern Catholic Church

NOT into the Latin Rite

 

 

 

 

 

Combined Rites for the Unbaptized Catechumens and for the Baptized Catholic and Non-Catholic Candidates

Rite or Celebration

(References are from the RCIA ritual text)

Who When Where
Combined

Rite of Acceptance into the Order of Catechumenate and

Rite of Welcoming of Candidates

National Statutes for the Catechumenate, nos. 505-529

priest or deacon As many times as needed (preferably on Ordinary Time) throughout the year at a Sunday Mass or celebration of the Word Parish Church
Combined Rite of Sending

Catechumens for Election &

Candidates for Recognition

[optional]

National Statutes for the Catechumenate, nos. 530-546

priest At a suitable time prior to the Rite of Election / Call to Continuing Conversion during a Mass or celebration of the Word Parish church
Combined

Rite of Election of Catechumens and

Rite of Calling the Candidates to Continuing Conversion

[Baptized Catholics and

non-Catholics Candidates]

National Statutes for the Catechumenate, nos. 547-561)

bishop or his delegate Normally takes place on First Sunday of Lent Cathedral church or a parish church, or, if necessary, in some other suitable and fitting place
Scrutinies for Catechumens and Candidates MUST NOT BE COMBINED

Catechumens celebrated three scrutinies, on 3rd, 4th, and 5th Sundays of Lent

Candidates celebrate one Scrutiny on the 2nd Sunday of Lent

Sacraments of Initiation

 

*Baptism, Confirmation & Eucharist for Catechumens

 

*Confirmation & Eucharist for Baptized Catholic Candidates

 

and

the Rite of Reception into

Full Communion with the Catholic Church for

non-Catholic Candidates

[profession of faith,

Confirmation & Eucharist]

National Statutes for the Catechumenate, nos. 562-594

bishop or priest

**the same minister baptizes and confirms, therefore a deacon may not baptize at the Vigil

**priest with appropriate faculties to confirm

 

For baptized Catholics:

priest must obtain permission from the Chancery

 

For those baptized in other Christian faith:

The faculty to confirm candidates baptized in other Christian faiths is granted through priestly faculties from the Archdiocese of Baltimore

Easter Vigil

(if necessary, Easter Sunday, during the Easter Octave or Season, or on an appropriate Sunday)

Parish church

101.6.2.  Minister of the Sacrament of Confirmation

 101.6.2.4.  Policy:

When a priest receives a Christian of catechetical age into full communion with the Catholic Church, he receives from the law itself (CIC, Canon 883 §2) the faculty to confirm the candidate for reception and is obliged to use it for the sake of the candidate. (CIC, Canon 885 §2) The confirmation of such candidates for reception should not be deferred, nor should they be admitted to the Eucharist until they are confirmed. National Statutes for the Catechumenate, no. 35 Any exception from this policy requires consultation with the Chancery Office. See Faculties 802.1., herein; See table below following 101.6.2.5.

101.6.2.5.  Policy:

According to the norms issued by the Holy See, a priest must obtain special delegation in order to validly confirm a baptized Catholic, even if the candidate was uncatechized and participated in the catechumenate. In the Archdiocese of Baltimore, this is obtained from the Office of the Chancellor. National Statutes for the Catechumenate, nos. 28 and 29; CIC, Canon 883 §2; See table below

Confirmation Delegation Chart

Minister

Confirmation Candidate

Episcopal delegation to Confirm needed?

Authority

Priest

Unbaptized adult or unbaptized child over the age of 7 seeking initiation into the  Roman Catholic Church

NO

As long as confirmation takes place during the same liturgy as baptism

CIC, Canons 861 §1, 867

National Statutes for the Catechumenate, no. 13

Faculties for priests of The Archdiocese of Baltimore

Baptized            Non-Catholic seeking full communion with the Roman Catholic Church

NO

CIC, Canons 861 §1, 883

National Statutes for the Catechumenate, no. 35

Archdiocesan faculties

for priests in the Archdiocese of Baltimore

Baptized Catholic

seeking  to complete sacramental initiation

YES

Archbishop,

Auxiliary Bishops or Vicars General

may grant delegation

CIC, Canon 882

National Statutes for the Catechumenate, nos. 28-29

[1] The National Conference of Catholic Bishops NCCB adopted the name United States Conference of Catholic Bishops USCCB in July 2001.


102 BAPTISM OF INFANTS

 


Baptism of adults in considered normative since it reflects most clearly the process of conversion which is essential for Christian initiation as well as the unity of the three sacraments of initiation.  Nevertheless, the form most commonly celebrated is the baptism of infants/children who have not reached the age of reason.

102. Policy:

A minor younger than 7 years old is regarded an ‘infant’ with respect to baptism.  The ‘infant is not considered responsible for himself or herself, or to have attained the ‘age of reason’CIC 97§2; 852§2

102. Policy:

The ordinary ministers of baptism are bishops, priests, and deacons. In imminent danger of death, when no priest or deacon is available, any member of the faithful, indeed anyone with the right intention, may and sometimes must administer baptism. Christian Initiation, General Introduction, nos. 11, 16

102.1. FORMATION OF PARENTS (AND SPONSORS)

102.1.1.  Policy:

Catholic parents preparing for the baptism of their infant are expected to participate in a process of sacramental formation before the baptism of their child. Sponsors are also encouraged to participate in the formation process. CIC 851§2

102.1.2.  Policy:

Parishes may collaborate with other parishes in the region to offer baptismal preparation for parents.

Procedures:

  1. Baptismal preparation of parents may take a variety of formats. It should not be lecture style only, rather it should engage discussion and participation from the participants.
  2. Baptismal preparation is not only the priest’s or deacon’s responsibility. Lay catechists should assist with this ministry as well.   It is imperative that all those who are leading baptism preparation sessions receive adequate formation themselves, prior to leading baptismal preparation sessions.

102.1.3.  Policy:

Parents are expected to attend baptismal preparation sessions prior to the baptism of each child.  This is an excellent opportunity to engage the parents in adult formation and intentional discipleship opportunities.  Each child will find them at a different point on their own faith journey and therefore, they are reminded of the importance of entering the process of preparation anew with each child

Procedures:

  1. Adaptations may be necessary for parents participating in a preparation program who have already participated in a baptismal preparation program for their first child.
  2. This ministry to parents should be viewed as spiritual guidance or formation and pastoral care as well as catechesis. The preparation of parents for their child’s baptism should be characterized by a sincere love and concern for the family, a desire to deepen their relationship to Christ, to the Church family, and to assist them in arriving at a deeper appreciation of baptism and their own vocation as Christian parents.
  3. In the case where parents have not been fully initiated in the celebration of baptism, confirmation, and first Eucharist, a ministry to parents may be an opportunity to encourage the parents to complete their initiation.
  4. It is important to be mindful that the baptism of an infant is for the benefit of the infant, rather than leverage to force a parent to enter marriage or to complete their own sacraments of initiation. Undue force, such as conditioning the baptism of a child on the validation of the parent’s marriage, could render the marriage invalid due to pressured consent. It should be remembered that the laws regarding the administration of the sacraments should be interpreted broadly since the faithful have a right to them.
  5. A request for infant baptism cannot ordinarily be refused. However, a baptism can be delayed until such a time as the parents or at least one of the parents are ready and able to assume the responsibility entrusted to Christian parents in the rite. This occasion should be viewed as an opportunity for evangelization, not placing an undue burden on the parents but helping them to grow in the spiritual life from whatever level of faith they may be.

102.2. SPONSOR (GODPARENTS)

[CIC uses the term ‘sponsor’ for infant baptism and  ‘godparent’ for adult baptism]

102.2.1Policy:

a.       In the baptism of infants, parents take responsibility for choosing a sponsor  who will serve as good witness for living the Gospel of Christ.  CIC 872

b.      The baptismal sponsor can later serve as the confirmation sponsor.

c.       Although the selection of two sponsors is customary, only one sponsor is required for baptism. A sponsor can be either male or female. If two sponsors are chosen, one must be male and one female.  CIC 873

d.      A sponsor must be at least sixteen years old (unless the bishop indicates otherwise); be someone who has completed sacramental initiation with confirmation and Eucharist; who is free of any canonical penalty and therefore free to celebrate the sacraments; and must not be the mother of father of the infant to be baptized. CIC 874 §1.2°,3°,4°,5°

e.       A baptized non-Catholic Christian can be chosen as a Christian witness provided there is at least one Catholic godparent. CIC 874 §2

102.3. BAPTISM BY POURING OR IMMERSION

102.3.1  Policy: 

Baptism can be conferred by pouring or by immersion. CIC 854

“Baptism by immersion is the fuller and more expressive sign of the sacrament. Preference for immersion over pouring is affirmed in the Rite. Rite of Baptism for Children Introduction no. 18.2

102.3.2  Policy:

In the Archdiocese of Baltimore, whenever a new church is erected, provision should be made for a font that allows for the immersion of infants at least, and for the immersion of adults, if possible. See Built of Living Stones

Procedures:

In the building of a new church or the renovation of an existing church, the parish should consult with the Archdiocesan Building Commission and the Office of Worship regarding the construction of the font.

102.4. TIMES AND SCHEDULING OF CELEBRATION

102.4.1.  Policy:

In order to accentuate the paschal character of baptism, the celebration of infant baptism should ordinarily take place on Sunday, even during Mass.  Celebration in the context of the parish community conveys the communal dimension of liturgical actions. Rite of Baptism for Children Introduction no. 9; CIC 837§2, 856

Procedures:

  1. The fullest expression of Baptism as incorporation into the church is best achieved through a communal celebration that includes all who are to be baptized at one ceremony with the assembly present to welcome the newly baptized into the community.
  2. Infant baptisms may be celebrated at a regularly scheduled Sunday Mass on a schedule accepted by the pastor/ PLD in consultation with others in the parish. The frequency of celebration at Sunday Mass will depend on the needs of the parish. It is not necessary for parishes to schedule the baptism of infants every Sunday. Once a month is an acceptable pastoral practice.  Appropriate days on the liturgical calendar or in the life of the parish should be chosen.
  3. Infant baptisms may also be celebrated at an Easter Sunday Mass or any of the Sundays of Easter. If the infant to be baptized is the child of an adult catechumen, that infant should be baptized at the Easter Vigil, such that parent and infant are baptized together.
  4. Unless there is a genuine pastoral need, baptisms should not be scheduled during Lent, lest the approaching celebration of Easter with its strong baptismal focus be diminished.

102.5. PLACE OF BAPTISM

102.5.1.  Policy:

Since baptism incorporates the infant/child into the Church, it should be celebrated in the parish church of the parents.  The parish church must have a baptismal font. Rite of Baptism for Children Introduction no. 10; CIC 857, 858

102.5.2.  Policy:

Baptisms in private homes, school or hospital chapels, are not permitted except in cases of emergency. Rite of Baptism for Children Introduction no. 12,13; CIC 860

102.5.3.  Policy:

An infant or child who was baptized in an emergency situation may be brought to the church at a later time to complete the baptismal ceremony, but omitting the pouring of the water.

Rite of Baptism for Children, no. 31§3, 165-185; Rite of Bringing a Baptized Child to the Church

Procedures:

a.       Anyone who baptizes in a case of emergency is obliged to inform the pastor of the parish church so that the baptism is recorded in the register of the parish in whose territory the baptism took place.

b.      The family should receive information concerning the parish where the baptism was recorded.

  1. The Rite of bringing a baptized child to the Church includes the liturgy of the word, intercessions, anointing, clothing with the white garment, handing of the lighted candle, praying the Our Father, blessing and dismissal.

102.6. MINISTER OF BAPTISM

102.6.1. Policy:

The ordinary minister of baptism is a bishop, a priest, or a deacon. In imminent danger of death, when an ordinary minister of baptism is unable to be present, a non-ordained person can serve as an extraordinary minister of baptism. Rite of Baptism for Children Introduction no. 21§1; CIC 861; Christian Initiation General Introduction, nos. 11, 16; Sacrosanctum Concilium 68

102.6.2.  Policy:

Pastors should provide instruction to the Christian faithful concerning the ritual of baptism in case of emergency. CIC 861§2; Christian Initiation General Introduction, no. 17, Rite of Baptism for Children no. 157-164.

Rite of Baptism for Children in Danger of Death when no priest or deacon is available

Procedures:

  1. The shorter rite of baptism should be used for emergencies by the extraordinary minister when the need arises.
  2. The shorter rite may also be used by the ordinary ministers in emergencies.

102.6.3.  Policy:

Unless it is a case of emergency, ordinary ministers are permitted to celebrate Baptism only in their territory of jurisdiction. CIC 862; Christian Initiation General Introduction, no. 17

102.6.4.  Policy:

The baptism of a minor who is fourteen years or older should be deferred to the bishop, who may delegate a priest to confer the baptism. CIC 863; Christian Initiation General Introduction, no. 17


103 CONFIRMATION

 


103.1. CANDIDATES FOR CONFIRMATION

“Those who have been baptized continue on the path of Christian initiation through the sacrament of Confirmation”  Rite of Confirmation, Introduction, no.1

Only those persons who have been baptized can receive confirmation. CIC, 889.1

103.1.1  Reception of the Sacraments of Initiation at One Celebration and  In Proper Order  (Adult catechumens and children catechumens)

103.1.1.  Policy:

Catechumens, whether they be adult or children of catechetical age, will receive the three sacraments of initiation in the proper order –baptism, confirmation, and Eucharist at ONE celebration in accord with the ancient practice and as established in CIC, Canon Law and in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.  This practice assures the unity of the Sacraments of Initiation. Rite of Confirmation, no.11; CIC, 866; Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, nos. 215, 305; National Statutes for the Catechumenate, nos. 18-19.

Procedures:

Adult catechumens will be baptized and receive confirmation immediately afterwards in the same celebration.  The newly baptized will complete their initiation at their first sharing of the Eucharist, also at the same celebration.

  1. Children who are baptized after reaching the age when catechesis is possible (also known as the age of reason) should receive confirmation immediate after baptism, at the celebration. As it is the case with the adult catechumens, the children catechumens will culminate their initiation with the reception of their first Eucharist, also at the same celebration.  The proper order of reception of the sacraments for these children remains: (1)baptism, (2)confirmation, (3)Eucharist.

103.1.2  Adolescent Candidates Baptized in the Catholic Church as Infants

103.1.1.2  Policy:

Canon Law permits the reception of the Sacrament of Confirmation “at about the age of discretion”.  The USCCB permits each Bishop to determine the age for Confirmation.

In the Archdiocese of Baltimore, adolescents baptized in infancy are ordinarily confirmed in the eighth through tenth grade levels.

CIC, Canons 889 §2, 891

Procedures:

  1. It is the responsibility of parish leaders to explain to parents and adolescent candidates the different practices concerning the celebration of Confirmation with children catechumens –RCIA process- and those who have been baptized as infants.  As the need arises, pastoral leaders should explain the differences between these two practices.
  2. It is important to explain to all concerned that there is not a dogmatic difference in the two practices, but rather a pastoral preference, and that the most important point is to remind all that it is the Eucharist which is the summit of initiation. Sacramentum Caritatis, no. 18.
  3. Pastoral leaders and catechists should be mindful not to attach the meaning of Christian maturity to Confirmation. This distorts the meaning of the sacrament.  Additionally a prudential pastoral approach is necessary such that confirmation does not appear to be a reward or graduation after having completed certain requirements. Confirmation is not something that someone achieves or earns, but rather is a gift of God, as are all the sacraments. More emphasis should be placed on the Eucharist as the repeatable sacrament of initiation.
  4. Adolescent candidates must be suitabley instructed, properly disposed, and able to renew the baptismal promises. CIC, no. 889.2

103.1.3  Adult Candidates Baptized in the Catholic Church as Infants

103.3.1.3  Policy:

Baptized and catechized Roman Catholics who, for whatever reason, have not had the opportunity to be confirmed, are invited to complete their initiation after a period of immediate preparation. CIC, 889.2, 890

Procedures:

  1. Adult candidates must be suitable instructed, properly disposed, and able to renew the baptismal promises. CIC, 889.2
  2. If the preparation of adult candidates coincides with preparation for marriage, it is important to encourage a disposition to receive the sacrament of confirmation for its own sake, not as a requirement for marriage. It might be the case that for pastoral reasons it is better to defer confirmation until after the marriage. Rite of Confirmation, no.12
  3. Adult Catholic candidates should receive confirmation before marriage unless this would pose a grave inconvenience. CIC,Canon 1065 1.

103.1.4  Candidates with disabilities

103.3.1.4  Policy:

The Archdiocese will assist pastors and pastoral leaders with resources and guidance to ensure that evangelization, catechesis, and sacramental formation is available to those who suffer from physical or mental disabilities, as encouraged in Canon Law. CIC, Canon 777 §4

Guidelines for the Celebration of the Sacraments with Persons with Disabilities, nos. 5, 6

  1. A baptized candidate with a physical or mental disability cannot be denied confirmation as long as he/she desires the sacrament;
  2. The celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation for an adult candidate with mental disabilities should be age appropriate and should be sensitive to any emotional needs of the candidate; and
  3. In some cases it may be appropriate for the parish priest to seek delegation to confirm individuals with disabilities during the Easter season. Generally, the candidate with will be more at ease around those known to him or her.

103.2. SPONSORS

The Canon Law Society of America translates the Latin terms patrinus and matrina with the English term sponsor.  In the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, sponsor is the person who presents an inquirer to the Order of Catechumenate at the Rite of Acceptance.  This person may or may not be the same person chosen to be the godparent at the Rite of Election.  However, when it concerns to the celebration of confirmation by the baptized candidate, the term used is sponsor.

103.2.1  Policy:

The sponsor has the responsibility to witness Christ to the candidate and to accompany the candidate in the fulfillment of Christian discipleship. CIC, Canon 892

103.2.2  Policy:

When possible, the sponsor for the candidate to be confirmed should be the same person who served as the sponsor for baptism. CIC, Canon 893 §2

103.2.3  Policy:

In order to be a sponsor, the person must fulfill the conditions specified for baptismal sponsors, namely

  1. Must have completed his or her 16th year unless, for just cause, the pastor or minister of the sacrament makes an exception;
  2. Must be a confirmed Catholic who has also received first communion and is leading a life in harmony with the Catholic faith and the role of a sponsor;
  3. Must not be bound by any canonical penalty;
  4. Must not be the parent of the catechumen;
  5. The spouse/fiancé of the candidate may serve as sponsor;
  6. A parent may not serve as a sponsor (the Rite of Confirmation, no.5 states, “Even the parents themselves may present their children for Confirmation – a proposed amendment to the canon was rejected, and thus parents cannot serve as a sponsor); and
  7. A baptized person who belongs to a non-Catholic Christian ecclesial community may not serve as a sponsor. CIC, Canons 874, 893

103.3. MINISTER OF CONFIRMATION

103.3.1   Policy:

The Bishop is the ordinary minister of confirmation.  CIC, Canon 882

103.3.2  Policy:

A priest is the special minister of confirmation in the following cases, by virtue of universal law:

a.       When baptizing (and confirming) an adult catechumen or a child catechumen of catechetical age;

b.      When receiving a non-Catholic Christian candidate into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church; and

c.       When confirming anyone (already baptized) in danger of death. In these cases, the presbyter does not need special delegation. CIC, Canons 883 §2, 883 §3; Rite of Confirmation no. 7b; Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, no. 14; National Statutes for the Catechumenate, nos. 28, 29

103.3.1   Policy:

A priest who possesses the faculty as stated in policy 103.3.2 must use it for the sake of the faithful. CIC, Canon 885 §2

103.3.1   Policy:

The priest may be the special minister of confirmation only after obtaining delegation from the Office of the Chancellor in the following case:

·         When confirming a Catholic candidate who was baptized as an infant.  CIC, Canon 882, 883.2, 883.3, 884

 


104 EUCHARIST

 


Eucharist is the third sacrament of initiation.  It completes the initiation sacraments.   It is essential to nurture the proper  understanding that it is the Eucharist, not Confirmation, which completes initiation. This can be particularly challenging when the sacraments of initiation are not celebrated in the Restored Order –Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist–, but nevertheless, it is imperative to communicate that Christian Initiation is ordered to the  Eucharist. In other words, the faithful should “put the sacrament of the Eucharist at the center, as the goal of the whole process of initiation” Sacramentum Caritatis §18.

Each time we share in the Eucharist, we are initiated more deeply into the paschal mystery. Our participation in this sacrament renews our commitment to live as disciples and carry on Christ’s ministry in the world.

104.1. THOSE WHO ARE INVITED TO PARTICIPATE AT THE EUCHARISTIC TABLE AND THEIR PREPARATION

Unbaptized adultsincluding children older than 7 years old– who participate in the Rite of Christian Initiation process will be fully initiated at the Easter Vigil (or at another time determined by pastoral needs).  At that time, having been baptized and confirmed, the individual will receive Holy Communion for the first time.  The catechumenate journey prepares the unbaptized to participate in the Eucharist.

Adults baptized in other Christian traditionsincluding children older than 7 years old, or those baptized as infants in the Catholic faith, but who had not been catechized, will participate in the Rite of Christian Initiation, adapted for the baptized.  After a suitable time of formation and preparation –to be decided by the individual and the pastoral formation team.  The journey of continuing conversion prepares the baptized to participate in the Eucharist.

Children baptized as infants in the Catholic faith can be prepared to receive the Eucharist after they have attained the age of reason.

104.1.1.  Policy:

The parents, those who take the place of parents, as well as the pastoral formation team share the responsibility of preparing the child for First Communion.. CIC, Canon 914  They are responsible for assessing the readiness of the child to receive First Communion. National Directory for Catechesis, no. 36 A.3a

Procedures:

  1. Catechesis for First Communion will provide age and developmental-level appropriate catechesis on the Mass and the mystery of the Eucharist that helps the child to participate actively and consciously, in an informed and reverent manner, as directed by the framework provided in Directory of Masses for Children, no. 12
  2. Children belonging to the Eastern Churches will follow the procedures for first reception of Eucharist called for by their traditions, which call for the infant to receive Eucharist at the same time of Baptism and Chrismation.

Although there might be occasional instances where the Sacrament of Reconciliation is delayed for children baptized Catholic as infants, this is not the norm. “In the Latin Church, children must receive the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation for the first time prior to their first reception of the Eucharist.  Since the celebration of First Confession precedes First Communion, Catechesis for the sacrament of Reconciliation is to precede First Communion and must be kept distinct by a clear and unhurried separation. This must be done so that the specific identity of each sacrament is apparent and so that, before receiving First Communion, the child will be familiar with the revised Rite of Reconciliation and will be at ease with the reception of the sacrament.’” National Directory for Catechesis, no 126

104.2 FREQUENCY OF PARTICIPATION

104.2.1. Policy:

Those who have been initiated into the Eucharist should receive Holy Communion at least once a year, during the Easter season CIC, Canon 920.  However, weekly participation in Mass is still expected.

104.3 MINISTER OF THE EUCHARIST

104.2.1. Policy:

The ordinary minister of holy communion is a bishop, presbyter, or deacon. The extraordinary minister of holy communion is an acolyte or another member of the faithful designated according to canon 230 §3. CIC, Canon 910.

 

RESOURCES FOR 100 POLICY ON SACRAMENTS OF INITIATION

Vatican Documents

Code of Canon Law

General Directory for Catechesis

Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults

Rite of Baptism

Rite of Marriage

Rite of Penance

Sacramentum Caritatis

USCCB Documents

Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, Study Edition and National Statutes for the Catechumenate

National Directory for Catechesis

 


200 ECCLESIASTICAL FUNERAL RITES


“The Order of Christian Funerals was canonically approved by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in the plenary assembly on 14 November 1985 and was subsequently confirmed by the Apostolic See by decree of the Congregation for Divine Worship on 29 April 1987 (Prob. N. CD 1550/85). …From All Souls Day, 2 November 1989, its use is mandatory in the dioceses of the United States of America. From that date forward no other English version of these rites may be used.” (Order of Christian Funerals: Decree of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops). The Catholic funeral rite is composed of three distinct parts, each with its own structure: the Vigil Service (Wake), the Funeral Liturgy, and the Rite of Committal (Burial or Internment).

Vigil Service (Wake)

The Vigil can be celebrated in a funeral home, a church, or the home of the deceased (Order of Christian Funerals, no. 55). “At the vigil, the Christian community keeps watch with the family in prayer to the God of mercy and finds strength in Christ’s presence” (Order of Christian Funerals, no. 56).

Generally a priest or deacon is the minister at the vigil service; however, any lay person, who has received adequate formation can preside at the Vigil as well as the Rite of Committal (Order of Christian Funerals, no. 14). This service can be a Liturgy of the Word which includes Scripture readings, reflection, and prayers (Order of Christian Funerals, no. 69-81, 82-97) or it can be prayers from the Office for the Dead from the Liturgy of the Hours (Order of Christian Funerals, no. 348-396). When the Vigil Service is in the form of a Liturgy of the Word, it should be composed of the introductory rites, the Scripture readings, the prayer of intercession, and a concluding rite (Order of Christian Funerals, no. 57.). It is often the custom to pray the Rosary before or after the Vigil and this practice is to be commended and encouraged. Since the Vigil is the official liturgical prayer of the community and the Rosary is a private devotion, the faithful should be taught that it is not to be prayed during the Vigil.

This is the time for family and friends to gather to remember their loved one, pray together, and offer support to one another. For this reason, this is a most appropriate time for eulogies to be given; this is also an opportune time for relatives or friends to offer words of remembrance (Order of Christian Funerals, no. 62). It is important to note the definitions of eulogy and remembrance. A eulogy is a formal and lengthy address that praises the life of the deceased, especially his or her accomplishments. A remembrance is very brief, informal and shares the ways in which the deceased touched the life of the speaker.

Funeral Liturgy

The Funeral Liturgy is the central liturgical celebration of the Catholic funeral rite. Gathered together to celebrate the Funeral Liturgy, the Christian community gives thanks to God for Christ’s victory over death, commends their loved one to God’s mercy, and seeks consolation in their time of loss. The Funeral Liturgy is not simply a time to gather to express of sorrow and grief, but most importantly it is a time to worship as a community united in faith. Therefore, it is important the following guidelines be respected.


201 FUNERALS IN GENERAL


201.1 GIVING OF ECCLESIASTICAL FUNERAL RIGHTS AND A FUNERAL MASS:

“The Christian faithful departed are to be given ecclesiastical funeral rites according to the norm of law.” (Can. 1176 §1) A funeral Mass should be considered the norm within the funeral rituals.

201.2 LOCATION OF FUNERAL MASS:

The Funeral Mass for any deceased member of the faithful must generally be celebrated in his or her parish church (canon 1177). A pastor may determine what rites may be celebrated at his parish church or the funeral home.

201.3 Funeral Masses at Non-Church Locations:

Any Funeral Mass to be held at a university, school, hospital or at any other site that may have a Catholic chapel on site must have the permission of the pastor and the Chancellor’s office.

201.4 Funeral Rites for the Poor:

Care is to be taken that the poor are not deprived of proper Funeral Rites, including the Funeral Mass (canon 1181).

201.5 Catechumens and Funeral Rights:

Regarding Ecclesiastical Funeral Rites, catechumens are to be considered members of the Church (canon 1183 §1).

201.6 Celebrating Funeral Rights for Member of Another Church:

The Church’s Funeral Rites may be celebrated for a baptized member of another Church or ecclesial community provided this would not be contrary to the wishes of the deceased person. The pastor of the parish is granted the authority to make this determination. (Canon 1183 §3, Order of Christian Funerals #18)


202 EXCLUSION FROM FUNERAL RITES


Policy:

Unless they have given some signs of repentance before death, the following are to be deprived of ecclesiastical Funeral Rites:

notorious heretics,

apostates and schismatics;

persons who had chosen the cremation of their bodies for reasons opposed to the Christian faith;

other manifest sinners for whom ecclesiastical Funeral Rites cannot be granted without public scandal to the faithful.

Procedure:

If some doubt arises about whether a person should be deprived of ecclesiastical Funeral Rights, the Chancery Office is to be consulted (Can. 1184).



203 PRESIDERS FROM OUTSIDE THE PARISH


Policy:

A priest from outside the parish should generally be allowed to celebrate the various rites of the Funeral Liturgy when a reasonable request is made. (CIC 265). He must abide by the policies established by the pastor and the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

Procedure:

A) Any priest who wishes to celebrate a Funeral Liturgy must have obtained faculties from the Archdiocese of Baltimore to do so. Priests from outside the Archdiocese of Baltimore must obtain at least Event Faculties before being permitted to minister in any way within the territory of the Archdiocese.

B) The pastor of the parish is responsible for making certain the proper faculties have been obtained prior to allowing any extern priest to minister in his territory. For more information see http://www.archbalt.org/vocations/priests/event-faculties.cfm.


204 READERS AT THE FUNERAL LITURGY


Policy:

The readers at the funeral liturgy should usually be Roman Catholic. (GIRM nos. 99, 101, and Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism, no. 133). Pastors are granted permission to permit a member of another church or ecclesial community to take on the task of reader.


205 MUSIC AT THE FUNERAL MASS


Policy:

Music at a Funeral Mass must reflect the paschal mystery and be related to the readings from Scripture. (Order of Christian Funerals, nos. 30-34)

Procedure:

The liturgical music selected should “support, console, and uplift participants and help to create in them a spirit of hope in Christ’s victory over death and in the Christian’s share in that victory.” (Order of Christian Funerals, no. 31)


206 EULOGIES AND REMEMBRANCES


Policy:

The norm of law is that there are to be no eulogies at a Funeral Mass. It is up to the pastor to the parish to determine whether a remembrance will be permitted at a Funeral Mass for his parish. If a remembrance is permitted is must take place according to the procedures listed below. Visiting clergy are required to abide by the decision of the pastor and this policy (GIRM no.382).

Procedure:

A) If a pastor permits a remembrance, it should take place immediately before the Funeral Liturgy begins.

B) It should be limited to 3-5 minutes.

C) Only one person should represent the family and friends. Multiple remembrances are not permitted.

D) The pastor may request a written outline of the proposed remembrance remarks, if he deems it appropriate.

E) The current liturgical guidelines clearly indicate, “[a]t Funeral Masses there should usually be a short Homily, but to the exclusion of a funeral eulogy of any kind.”


207 CREMATION AND THE FUNERAL LITURGY


Policy:

Pastors and associate pastors are granted permission for the Funeral Liturgy to be celebrated in the presence of the cremated remains. (Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments on March 21, 1997- Prot. N. CD 1589/96/L and Order of Christian Funerals Appendix 2: Cremation: Decree of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops.)

Procedure:

A) In every case, the priest must consider the reasons for the request and receive the necessary assurance that the cremated remains will be handled with reverence and will be buried in a grave or entombed in a mausoleum or columbarium. (Order of Christian Funerals Appendix 2: Cremation #417)

B) If there are plans to scatter the cremains, a clergyman or representative of the Church should not be present for the Rite of Committal.


208 RITE OF COMMITTAL (BURIAL OR INTERNMENT)


208.1 FINAL FUNERAL RITE:

The Rite of Committal concludes the Funeral Rites. The community gathers together for a final act of public worship and expresses the hope in the glory of the resurrection.

208.2 INTERNMENT AND CREMATION:

Internment of the faithful is traditional and preferable. However, cremation may be permitted provided it has not been chosen as a sign of rejection of the Church’s teaching regarding reverence for the human body or the resurrection of the dead (Can. 1176 §3).

208.3 CONSECRATED GROUND:

A baptized member of another Christian Church or ecclesial community, who for a reasonable cause requests it, may be buried in consecrated ground (Can. 1183 §3).

208.4 CONSULTATION WITH CHANCERY:

For funerals involving prominent persons or for other concerns regarding the proper funeral rites to be accorded a member of the faithful, the Chancery should be consulted.


209 BEST PRACTICES FOR FUNERAL RITES


The following are best practices for funeral rites:

Providing the bereaved family with the proper information (in written form if possible) regarding these policies as the funeral is planned assists in establishing expectations in keeping with the Church’s teachings;

Asking the person giving a remembrance (if permitted) to provide the priest with a written copy of what will be “remembered” well before the Funeral Mass so the remarks can be focused and within the expected time;

Establishing a practice of having a time (an hour or half hour) BEFORE the Funeral Mass for eulogies at the Church;

Being clear and consistent with staff and parishioners about what is permitted and what is not so that all feel fairly treated; and

Having any comments from family and friends be done away from the Ambo.


300 THE SACRAMENT OF PENANCE


“The people of God accomplish and perfect this continual repentance in many different ways. They share in the sufferings of Christ by enduring its own difficulties, carry out works of mercy and charity, and adopt ever more fully the outlook of the Gospel message. Thus, the people of God become in the world a sign of conversion to God. All this the Church expresses in its life and celebrates in the liturgy when the faithful confess that they are sinners and ask pardon of God and of their brothers and sisters. This happens in penitential services, in the proclamation of the word of God, in prayer, and in the penitential aspects of the eucharistic celebration.”

In the sacrament of penance the faithful “obtain from the mercy of God pardon for their sins against him; at the same time they are reconciled with the Church which they wounded by their sins and which works for their conversion by charity, example and prayer.”

(From the Rite of Penance, Introduction, No. 4)


301 THE SACRAMENT OF PENANCE


301 The Sacrament of Penance[1]

Policy:

Administration of the Sacrament of Penance in the Archdiocese of Baltimore shall be in complete accord with all of the ritual components of the Rite of Penance. Pastoral practice must follow Church teaching and discipline.

Procedure:

Particular attention should be given to the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, to the “Instruction” introducing the Rite of Penance, and to the pertinent canons of the revised Code of Canon Law (Canons 959-991). This teaching and discipline provide the foundation for the development of appropriate pastoral practice.

[1]For celebration of the Sacrament of Penance in conjunction with the process of initiation see §308 of this policy, below.


302 RECONCILIATION OF INDIVIDUAL PENITENTS (FIRST FORM)


302.1 OPPORTUNITY AND TIME FOR CELEBRATION OF THE SACRAMENT IN THIS FORM:

302.1.1 Opportunity:

Every parish shall offer ample opportunity to celebrate the Sacrament of Penance in the individual form.

Procedure:

While the custom of celebrating the Sacrament of Penance on Saturday afternoon is
acknowledged, various opportunities other than just prior to the Saturday evening Mass should be explored.

302.1.2 Time: When a parish schedules the Sacrament of Penance just prior to the celebration of Mass, both priests and penitents should be given adequate time to prepare for the celebration of the Eucharist. For this reason, confessions between closely-spaced Masses should be avoided. Regularly scheduled confessions between Sunday Masses is not permitted.

302.1.3 Conflict with Mass: The Sacrament of Penance shall not be celebrated while a Mass is being celebrated in the same place.

302.2 PHYSICAL ARRANGEMENTS:

302.2.1 Area for Reconciliation:

Ordinarily, the Rite for Reconciliation of Individual Penitents shall be celebrated either in a confessional or a reconciliation room. Confessionals or other suitable arrangements which ensure anonymity of the penitent shall be provided.

302.2.2 Reconciliation Room:

Every parish church and place of worship where confessions are regularly scheduled must make provision for at least one reconciliation room, which provides the penitent with all the options of the Rite.

Procedure:

A reconciliation room is, by definition, a physical setting which provides the penitent with all the options of the Rite (i.e., both face-to-face and fixed screen for anonymity). Attention should be given to its size, furnishings, proper lighting, ventilation, acoustics and liturgical symbols. It is not to be used for any purpose other than the celebration of all the sacraments.

302.3 CELEBRATING THE SACRAMENT:

The Sacrament of Penance is a liturgical act of worship. Church law requires penitents to mention all serious sins, committed after baptism, both number and kind, of which they are aware and which have not yet been acknowledged in individual confession and submitted for individual absolution.

302.3.1 Form of the Sacrament: So that this form may be clearly understood as an experience of ecclesial and liturgical prayer, the Word of God should be included in the individual form of the sacrament.

302.3.2 Proper Garb for the Confessor: The confessor may follow the custom common in the United States of wearing a stole over an alb, or a cassock and surplice, or a clerical suit.

302.3.3 Role of the Confessor: Respecting the personal style in which the penitents choose to confess their sins and discern the movements of the Spirit in their lives, the confessor shall assist them to make a complete confession.

302.4 PENANCE AND ABSOLUTION:

301.4.1 Penance: A penance shall be assigned by the priest or mutually agreed upon by confessor and penitent, and should be appropriate for the individual.

301.4.2 Absolution: The Church’s official words of absolution, as found in the Rite of Penance, must always be said.

302.5 PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES:

Those with disabilities, who may need additional help making a good confession, are to be included in parish celebrations of the sacrament of Penance or in celebrations in small communities of faith that are flexible and responsive to a wide range of needs. The celebrant should accommodate the special needs of the individual penitent within the confines of church law.

302.5.1 The Penitent: Only those who have the use of reason are capable of committing serious sin. As long as the individual is capable of having a sense of contrition for having committed sin, even if he or she cannot describe the sin precisely in words, the person may receive sacramental absolution. Those with profound mental disabilities, who cannot experience even minimal contrition, may be invited to participate in penitential services with the rest of the community to the extent of their ability.

302.5.2 Unique Circumstances: In the case of individuals with poor communication skills, sorrow for sin is to be accepted even if this repentance is expressed through some gesture rather than verbally. In some cases where verbal communication is limited, there are a variety of aids/tools that the penitent can use to assist her or him in the confession process.

302.5.3 Autism: The National Catholic Partnership for Persons with Disabilities recently developed a mobile app for persons with severe Autism who are unable to speak. The penitent is able to tap on a picture that represents their sin and show it the priest. In posing questions and in the assignment of penances, the confessor is to proceed with prudence and discretion, mindful that he is at once judge and healer, minister of justice as well as of mercy (Canons 978, § 1; 979; 981).

302.5.4 Deaf Catholics: The following options are available for deaf Catholics receiving the sacrament of penance:

Sign Language: Catholics who are deaf should have the opportunity to confess to a priest able to communicate with them in sign language, if sign language is their primary means of communication.

Interpreter: They may also confess through an approved sign language interpreter of their choice (Canon 990). The interpreter is strictly bound to respect the seal of confession (Canons 983, § 2 and 1388, § 2).

Written Confession: When no priest with signing skills is available, nor sign language interpreter requested, Catholics who are deaf should be permitted to make their confession in writing. The written materials are to be returned to the penitent or otherwise properly destroyed.


303 RECONCILIATION OF SEVERAL PENITENTS WITH INDIVIDUAL CONFESSION AND ABSOLUTION (SECOND FORM)


303.1 OPPORTUNITY AND TIME FOR CELEBRATION OF THE SACRAMENT IN THIS FORM:

The Rite for Reconciliation of Several Penitents with Individual Confession and Absolution is one of the legitimate options of the Rite of Penance afforded to all the faithful on occasion, particularly during the seasons of Advent and Lent.

303.1.1 Communal Celebration: Communal celebration shows more clearly the ecclesial nature of penance. When a number of penitents assemble at the same time to receive sacramental reconciliation, the Word of God is proclaimed, followed by an examination of conscience.

303.1.2 Individual Confession: If necessary, several priests should be available in suitable places to hear individual confessions and to reconcile the penitents. After confessing and being absolved individually, all join in praising God together.

303.2 PHYSICAL ARRANGEMENTS:

The physical arrangements for celebration of this Second Form shall enable individuals to confess either face-to-face or anonymously.

303.3 LITURGICAL PRAYER:

During the communal liturgy, there shall be the usual distribution of liturgical roles.

303.4 Planning Required:

This form of the celebration of the sacrament demands proper and thorough liturgical planning. As with all forms, the basic format of the Rite shall be followed, however, considerable variety is possible in terms of Scriptural texts, themes, visual and other specific components of the liturgical action. Communal prayer and singing are integral components of this form.

303.5 Adaptation of the Rite:

Pastoral prudence may suggest adapting the celebration of the rite appropriate for the particular group participating in the sacrament. (e.g. School children, confirmation retreats, those with physical challenges, etc.)

303.6 Basis of Planning:

The Rite of Penance, with its Appendices should be used as the primary resource in planning penitential celebrations.

303.7 CONFESSION, PENANCE, AND ABSOLUTION:

When using the Second Form, penitents must make individual integral confession of their sins, and absolution is always to be given individually.


304 RECONCILIATION OF SEVERAL PENITENTS WITH GENERAL CONFESSION AND GENERAL ABSOLUTION (THIRD FORM)


304.1 OPPORTUNITY AND TIME FOR CELEBRATION OF THE SACRAMENT IN THIS FORM:

In the Archdiocese of Baltimore at the present time, there are no generally accepted cases in which the conditions warranting the imparting of general absolution would be foreseen to exist. Should a confessor believe that such conditions exist in individual cases, he is required to obtain prior permission of the diocesan bishop.

304.2 CONDITIONS FOR CELEBRATION OF THE SACRAMENT IN THIS FORM:

The revised Code of Canon Law specifies the conditions under which general absolution may be imparted. Canon 961, §1, 1º, 2º states:

§1 Absolution cannot be imparted in a general manner to a number of penitents at once without previous individual confession unless:

1º the danger of death is imminent and there is not time for the priest or priests to hear the confessions of the individual penitents;

2º a serious necessity exists, that is, when in light of the number of penitents a supply of confessors is not readily available rightly to hear the confessions of individuals within a suitable time so that the penitents are forced to be deprived of sacramental grace or holy communion for a long time[1] through no fault of their own; it is not considered a sufficient necessity if confessors cannot be readily available only because of the great number of penitents as can occur on the occasion of some great feast or pilgrimage.

(See also Rite of Penance #60).

[1]The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has determined that the word diu (“for a long time”) in Canon 961, §1,2º should be understood as “a month.”


305 NON-SACRAMENTAL PENITENTIAL SERVICES


305.1 Non-Sacramental Penitential Services:

In addition to three sacramental forms of reconciliation, the Rite of Penance also offers non-sacramental, communal penitential services. These are further options which may be afforded to the faithful.

305.2 Avoiding Confusion with the Sacrament of Penance:

In planning, publicizing and celebrating such non-sacramental services, care must be taken that people do not confuse these with the celebration of the sacrament of penance.

305.3 Cathechetical Opportunity:

Non-sacramental penitential services provide a catechetical opportunity for catechumens and candidates during their conversion, as well as helping children gradually form their conscience about sin in human life and about freedom from sin through Christ. (See #37 Rite of Penance) These services could also be used in the following situations: RCIA, Lenten service in predominantly non-Catholic student body, Respect Life, or by an individual teacher in classroom setting.

305.4 Presiding Minister:

If an ordained minister is not present, a non-ordained minister may preside at such non-sacramental penitential services.

305.5 Source for Planning:

The appendices of the Rite of Penance should be used as a resource book in planning such penitential services.


306 SPECIAL PASTORAL SITUATIONS


306.1 RETURNING CATHOLICS:

When Catholics return to the Church after a long absence, seeking to be reconciled, priests are to be sensitive to their personal history and unique spiritual needs. Through the Sacrament of Penance, the returning Catholics are welcomed back to the Eucharistic table.

306.2 Sensitivity Needed:

Pastoral leaders should be sensitive to the needs of returning Catholics and be aware of various methods and programs to assist in the process of welcoming them back.

306.3 Returning Catholics not included in the Catechumenate:

Ordinarily, returning Catholics should not be included in the Catechumenate with the unbaptized or with Christians seeking full communion with the Church. (See also §308 The Sacrament of Penance and Christian Initiation, herein)

306.4 Rite of Welcoming Not Appropriate:

Though the process of welcoming back returning Catholics may parallel aspects of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), they do not belong in the RCIA process. The Rite of Welcoming is not appropriate for fully initiated Catholics returning to the Church. (RCIA #411, RCIA National Statute #36. See Policy 307, herein.)


307 CHILDREN’S CELEBRATION OF THE SACRAMENT OF PENANCE


Those who plan for celebrations of Reconciliation involving children need to be aware of and sensitive to the particular stages of moral and psychological development of these age groups. Emphasizing the mercy of God while enabling people to assess their lifestyles, relationships, attitudes, values, and behavior is always a delicate responsibility. It is especially important when dealing with children. God’s loving mercy and forgiveness need to be clearly demonstrated. (Signs of God’s Love, Regulations and Guidelines for Sacramental Catechesis, Part One, Archdiocese of Baltimore, [2004; hereinafter SOGL-1], Section III-B-3)

“Catechesis for children prior to their first reception of the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation must always respect their natural disposition, ability, age, and circumstances. Since the family is intimately involved with the formation of a child’s moral conscience and ordinarily integrates the child into the wider ecclesial communities, parents should be involved in the preparation of their children for this sacrament so that they can affirm and reinforce frequent participation in the sacraments. They orient the child toward God and encourage continue growth in the understanding of God’s mercy and love.” (National Directory for Catechesis, 135)

307.1 PREPARATION FOR FIRST RECEPTION OF THE SACRAMENT OF PENANCE BY CHILDREN:

307.1.1 Separate Instruction:

Formal instruction for the Sacrament of Penance must be separate and distinct from preparation for the first reception of Eucharist so that the integrity of each sacrament is maintained. (SOGL-1 III-A-2.)

307.1.2 Parental Involvement:

The parents’ right and responsibility to direct the religious formation of their children must be safeguarded and enhanced. For this reason, preparation for first reception of the sacrament shall involve the parents and provide guidance to them in helping prepare their children. (SOGL-1 and Canon 793)

307.1.3 Age of Reason:

Typically when children reach the “age of reason”, they and their parents are invited to participate in catechesis for Reconciliation. (SOGL-1 III-A-1-2)

307.1.4 Parental Formation:

Parental formation in the Church’s understanding of the Sacrament of Penance is a prerequisite for their ability to assist in the preparation of their children for the sacrament and in order to make an informed decision regarding their children’s readiness for reception of the sacrament.

307.1.5 Role of the Parish:

The parish is responsible for offering formation and resources for children and their parents for the first reception of the Sacrament of Penance.

307.1.6 Children with Disabilities:

It is important to invite children with disabilities and their parents into this process and provide appropriate accommodations for them. (SOGL-1 III-A-1) (See also Policy §302.5 herein)

307.2 OPPORTUNITY AND TIME FOR CELEBRATION OF THE SACRAMENT OF PENANCE BY CHILDREN:

Children shall be offered a genuine opportunity to celebrate the Sacrament of Penance before their first reception of the Eucharist. (Canon 914 and SOLG-1 III-A-2) To facilitate this, every parish shall have a special celebration of the Sacrament of Penance before the first reception of the Eucharist for those who have been prepared for the two sacraments. (Canon 914 and SOGL-1 III-A-3)

307.2.1 First Experience:

It would be well if the child’s first experience with the Sacrament of Penance occurred within a communal setting. All celebrations of reconciliation with children should be well planned and respect the liturgical integrity of the rite. (SOGL-1 III-3)

307.2.2 Collaborative Instruction:

In order to provide suitable catechesis for the first celebration of the Sacrament of Penance before the reception of the Eucharist, parishes in collaboration with parents should provide instruction for the Sacrament of Penance prior to first Eucharist. (cf. c.777)

307.2.3 Appropriate and Ongoing Instruction:

It is understood that such instruction will be commensurate with the ability of the child to understand. The catechesis for these two sacraments, as well as all others, is to be ongoing so that there will be development in the person’s knowledge and understanding as he or she matures.

307.3 Outreach to Parents:

The pastor and his staff shall, when necessary, explain to the parents the Church’s discipline in regard to first confession before first Communion and the catechetical reasons for it. (SOGL-1 III-A1-2) Such an explanation should help the parents understand the values underlying the norm. It is important that both parents and children correctly understand the nature of sin and forgiveness. The sacrament is not intended to be an experience of judgment that condemns but of a love that pardons. (SOGL-1 III-A1-2)

307.4 Choosing not to Receive Sacrament of Penance:

In those cases in which a child, because of exceptional reasons and under the guidance of his or her parents, chooses not to receive the Sacrament of Penance, he or she shall not be deprived of the right to receive his or her First Holy Communion. The child shall be encouraged to celebrate the Sacrament of Penance later so that he or she will not be deprived of it altogether. (SOGL-1 III-A-2)

307.5 PHYSICAL ARRANGEMENTS:

As with adults, children have the right to celebrate the sacrament face-to-face or from behind a screen. Children shall always be free to choose their own confessor.


308 THE SACRAMENT OF PENANCE AND CHRISTIAN INITIATION


Although not a sacrament of initiation, there are often questions about celebrating the Sacrament of Penance in conjunction with the process of initiation. These policies are provided here for the sake of completeness.

308.1 CANDIDATES’ CELEBRATION OF THE SACRAMENT OF PENANCE:

Candidates are to receive a thorough catechesis on the Sacrament of Penance and to be encouraged in the frequent celebration of the sacrament. (National Statutes #27 & 36) They shall be invited to celebrate the Sacrament of Penance prior to their reception into full communion, but not at the same liturgy. Candidates are required to celebrate the Sacrament of Penance prior to their reception into the full communion of the Roman Catholic Church if they are guilty of serious sin. All candidates should be encouraged to do so in any case. (RCIA #482)

308.2 CATECHUMENS’ CELEBRATION OF THE SACRAMENT OF PENANCE:

Catechumens preparing for baptism (both children and adults) do not celebrate the Sacrament of Penance prior to baptism. They are to be invited to participate in non-sacramental penitential rites as found in the RCIA #141, 291, so that they may come to understand the reality of sin and appreciate the comforting message of God’s pardon.

308.3 CHILDREN’S CELEBRATION OF THE SACRAMENT OF PENANCE:

Non-Catholic children who are baptized in infancy but preparing for reception into the full communion of the Roman Catholic Church should be adequately prepared and encouraged to celebrate the Sacrament of Penance some time prior to their formal reception into the Catholic Church. (RCIA #482, National Statutes #27)

Resource
Penance

Rev. Joseph M. Champlin, “Second Thoughts on First Penance,” Church Magazine, Spring, 1996, pp. 39-40.

Andrew Cuschieri, The Sacrament of Reconciliation, A Theological and Canonical Treatise. New York: University Press of America, 1992.

James Dallen, The Reconciling Community: The Rite of Penance. New York: Pueblo Publishing Company, 1986. Currently published by Liturgical Press.

James Dallen & Joseph Favazza, Eds. Removing the Barriers: The Practice of Reconciliation. Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications, 1991.

Martin Doodle & Geoffrey Rowell, Eds. Confession and Absolution. Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1990.

Robert J. Kennedy, Ed. Reconciliation: The Continuing Agenda. Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1987.

Jeffrey Sobosan, Act of Contrition: Personal Responsibility and Sin. Notre Dame: Ave Maria Press, 1979.

Rev. Paul Turner, “Reconciliation,” Ministry & Liturgy Magazine, 1996, Resource Publications, Inc.

Xavier Thevenot, Sin: A Christian View for Today. Liguori: Liguori Publications, 1984.

Rite of Penance, Catholic Books Publishing Co., New York, 1975.

Guidelines for the Celebration of the Sacraments with Persons with Disabilities, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1995. http://www.usccb.org


400 SACRAMENT OF MARRIAGE


In ministering to the engaged couple and in celebrating their marriage, the Church not only expresses its love and support for the couple, but acknowledges the value of their married life as a help to each other to attain holiness, and as a blessing for society and the life of the Church. In forming a family, they become a domestic church. By word and example they are the first heralds of the faith with regard to their children. (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, #11)

Because of the dignity and holiness  of the vocation of Christian marriage, the Church has an obligation to do all that it can to preserve the sacredness of marriage and offer its members the guidance and support that will help to prepare a couple for their married life.

Parish ministers sometimes encounter couples who might not worship regularly or be fully catechized. Their notions of marriage may be more influenced by the media than by the Christian tradition. Furthermore, one of the partners may not be Catholic or Christian.

For many couples, marriage preparation is their first experience as adults of encountering Christ through the Church. They may come with disinterest, apprehension, misconceptions or unreasonable expectations. But their coming to the Church at this moment is in itself a movement of grace.

Parish ministers need to see in this occasion an opportunity for evangelization. A warm welcome and a genuine concern for their welfare may be a turning point in their lives as they encounter Christ from a new perspective. This demands patience and sensitivity and, above all, a love that can both challenge as well as rejoice with the couple preparing for marriage.

These policies and procedures cannot cover every possible situation pastoral ministers will encounter in serving the needs of the engaged. However, they are intended to give order and direction to our celebration of marriage in the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

While respecting the personal and familial nature of each marriage celebration, the Church has an obligation, in the exercise of its teaching office, to lead and guide all the faithful to a truly Catholic understanding of marriage as a public act, a communal treasure, and a sacrament of the Church and for the Church.

The council fathers of Vatican II taught that “The intimate community of life and love which constitutes the married state has been established by the Creator and endowed by Him with its own proper laws…God himself is the author of marriage” (Gaudiun et Spes 48, n. 1). The Church teaches that marriage is a covenant by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life and is ordered by its nature to the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of children. Through this marriage covenant, both a man and a woman enter a permanent relationship that is characterized by unity, exclusivity, and indissolubility. A man and the woman marry by consenting to give and to accept each other through this irrevocable marriage covenant. 


401 PREPARATION FOR CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE


401.1 PREPARING COUPLES FOR MARRIAGE COMMITMENT:

The vocation to Christian marriage demands a serious commitment. Consequently, the Church desires to do all that it can so that couples are adequately prepared to accept the responsibilities of Christian marriage and to fulfill them faithfully.

401.2A LIFE-TIME COMMITMENT:

The parish community shall take responsibility for preparing couples for their wedding day and for the life-time commitment of living a Christian marriage.

401.3MINIMUM OF 6 MONTHS OF PREPARATION:  

The formal preparation for marriage shall begin at least six months before the anticipated date of the wedding.

401.4 RECEIVING SACRAMENT OF CONFIRMATION: 

Canon 1065 §1 states “Catholics who have not yet received the sacrament of confirmation are to receive it before they are admitted to marriage if it can be done without grave inconvenience.”

Procedure:

A) Immediate preparation for the Sacrament of Confirmation could be included as part of the marriage preparation process.

B) The right to marriage cannot be denied if a person has not yet been confirmed.

C) Pastoral leaders should assist the confirmation candidate in seeking out opportunities to celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation with other parishes or at an Archdiocesan celebration at time prior to the wedding.

D) The celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation presumes a proper disposition on the part of the candidate.

401.5 SETTING THE WEDDING DATE:

No firm date for a wedding shall be set until the conclusion of the couple’s first meeting with the parish minister and the parties are determined to be free to marry in the Catholic Church.

401.6 MARRIAGE PREPARATION PROGRAMS:

In addition to the personal interviews and the instruction and counseling provided by the parish minister, a variety of marriage preparation offerings are available to meet the individual needs of engaged couples. The parish minister shall recommend the appropriate marriage preparation process in which the couple is to participate.

401.6.1 Preparation: Priests, deacons, pastoral associates, and Pastoral Life Directors are to share the responsibility for preparing couples for marriage with parishioners who have received suitable catechesis and formation in marriage preparation and who can appropriately minister to engaged couples.

401.6.2 Persons with Disabilities: The inclusion of persons with disabilities in sponsor couple programs is an especially effective way of supporting both the needs and the gifts of couples preparing for marriage.

401.6.3 Six Sessions: It is strongly urged that there be six sessions devoted to marriage preparation:

  • Session I: Initial meeting with parish minister, including the Pre-nuptial Investigation.
  • Sessions II, III, and IV: Include catechesis and personal formation for marriage.
    • These sessions may be satisfied by three sessions with a pastoral minister or by attending a marriage preparation program, in accord with the Archdiocesan Sacramental Regulations and Guidelines for marriage. See the Archdiocesan website for approved forms for marriage preparation programs: www.archbalt.org/family-life/marriage-family/marriage-preparation/index.cfm.
    • Topics for the sessions should include catechesis on the sacrament and vocation of marriage, communication skills, decision making, finances, spirituality, sexuality, and family planning.​
  • Session V: Follow-up session with parish minister, to discuss the catechetical and personal formation sessions.
  • Session VI: Follow-up session with parish minister, to complete planning for the wedding liturgy.

401.6.4 Parish Preparation: Parishes should maintain at least one type of process for catechetical and personal formation of couples preparing for the Sacrament of Marriage. Parishes may also collaborate with neighboring parishes to provide this part of marriage preparation for couples who request it. Parishes may collaborate with the Office of Family Life and Ministry for the formation of pastoral ministers and for support in offering marriage preparation opportunities.

401.6.5 Publicizing Policies: Expectations for marriage preparation are to appear in the parish bulletin, parish website and in parish sacramental handbooks.

401.7 DELAYING THE WEDDING:

The right of the faithful to marry must be properly respected and the decision to delay the marriage of any couple should be approached cautiously.

401.7.1 Special Circumstances: When special circumstances are present, (for example:, an unwillingness to prepare for marriage; a lack of openness to faith; a serious lack of maturity; teenagers 18 years of age or younger; pregnancy; extended separation before or after the wedding) or if some reasonable question is raised concerning the couple’s readiness to marry, delaying the wedding would be prudent.  Further consultation and evaluation may be required before a wedding date can be set.

401.7.2 Right of Appeal: To insure that a couple’s rights are respected, a couple must be informed of their right to appeal the decision to delay their wedding date to the Chancellor.

401.7.3 Consultation: The parish minister should consult with the Chancellor in difficult cases or where concerns are expressed by the couple.

401.7.4 Decision of Parish Minister: Upon consultation with the Chancellor, the parish minister can decide:

  • The special circumstances warrant delaying the wedding.
  • The special circumstances are not of a serious enough nature to impede a couple’s ability to enter into a successful marriage. If such a decision is reached, the date of the wedding can be set and formal marriage preparation can begin.
  • Additional information is needed. The parish minister will undertake a more in-depth assessment. No date for the wedding can be set until a positive decision has been made.

402 THE PRESIDING MINISTER AND WITNESSES FOR THE RITE OF MARRIAGE


402.1 RELATIONSHIP OF PRESIDING MINISTER:

The celebration of Catholic marriage takes place in the midst of the community. The presiding minister, who is the official witness of marriage for the Church, is presumed to have a pastoral relationship with the couple.

402.2 RESPONSIBILITY FOR WITNESSING:

Priests and deacons who have appropriate faculties have the responsibility for witnessing Catholic marriages.

402.2.1 Clergy Incardinated in the Archdiocese of Baltimore: Faculties of the Archdiocese of Baltimore provide that clergy incardinated in this Archdiocese have the general faculty to witness all marriages within the parish where they are assigned when one party is of the Latin rite. If they wish to witness marriages outside their territory, the permission of the proper pastor is required for validity

402.2.2 Religious Order Clergy or Externs: Religious order clergy or externs, who are assigned as territorial pastors or associate pastors, have the faculty to witness validly at marriages within their boundaries for parishioners or for non-parishioners provided one is of the Latin rite. If they wish to witness marriages outside their territory, the permission of the proper pastor is required for validity.

402.2.3 Visiting Clergy: Visiting Clergy who have faculties to witness marriages in their dioceses, must obtain Event Faculties (see http://www.archbalt.org/vocations/priests/index.cfm) from the Office of Clergy Personnel and delegation to witness a marriage in the Archdiocese of Baltimore from the local pastor of the parish in which the marriage is to take place or from the  Tribunal (Canon 1111) after appropriate conditions have been met. Clerics from other dioceses must comply with Archdiocesan requirements to receive Event Faculties prior to their arrival to witness a wedding or other liturgical event.  Pastors of parishes are charged with communicating this requirement to all clerics seeking such permissions. Pastors should be certain such faculties are issued before the wedding or any other liturgical event takes place.

402.2.4 Deacons: When deacons minister at a marriage celebrated at Mass, the priest who presides at the Mass is ordinarily the witness of the marriage vows. For pastoral reasons, the priest may permit the deacon to witness the marriage vows at Mass.

402.2.5 Non-Catholic Officiants: Marriages involving non-Catholic officiants require a dispensation from canonical form that is to be obtained from the Diocesan Tribunal. (see Policy §404.3.1., Place of Wedding, herein)

402.3 SPECIAL LANGUAGE AND CULTURAL NEEDS:

Parishes shall be sensitive to the special language and cultural needs of those being married in the churches of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

Procedure:

When a couple cannot find an ordained clergy available to meet their special language or cultural needs, the priest should recommend that the couple contact the Office of Marriage and Family Life to inquire about the possibility of making special arrangements for their situation.

402.4 SPECIAL CARE FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES:

The standard of evaluation for readiness to marriage is the same for all, including those with persons with disabilities. Pastors and others preparing couples for entrance into marriage, should keep in mind the right of all to receive the sacraments if properly disposed. Each couple is unique and the proper prenuptial investigation and preparation may be tailored for their situation.

402.4.1 Clergy and Pastoral Life Directors: Clergy and Pastoral Life Directors are to evaluate readiness for marriage on an individual basis and in light of pastoral judgment based upon consultation with diocesan personnel involved with disability issues, as well as with canonical, medical and other experts.

402.4.2 Expert Opinions:  Medical and canonical opinions should be sought in determining the presence of any impediments to marriage.

402.4.3 Paraplegia:  Paraplegia in itself does not always imply impotence nor the permanence of such a condition, and it is not in itself an impediment to readiness for marriage. In case of doubt with regard to impotence, marriage may not be impeded.

402.5 NON-CATHOLIC WITNESSES:

Although it is preferable that both witnesses at a marriage ceremony in the Catholic Church be Catholic, when circumstances warrant, non-Catholic persons may serve as witnesses without the need for special permission.  A witness to marriage must be over the age of 18 years and able to indicate what events transpired during the wedding ceremony.  (c. 97).

402.6CATHOLICS AS WITNESSES AT NON-CATHOLIC WEDDINGS:

Catholics may serve as witnesses at weddings of friends of other faiths except where there is reason to believe that the marriage to be witnessed is invalid.

402.7 COMPLIANCE WITH CIVIL AND CANON LAW:

Because there are a number of canonical and legal consequences to a marriage celebrated in the Church, it is important for the parish priest or deacon to process all the necessary documentation and forms required by civil law and the canon law of the Church. Accurate records and adherence to requirements for particular documentation, including dispensations, where applicable, are a serious pastoral responsibility. When a visiting priest is delegated to witness a marriage, the pastor or pastoral life director is responsible for seeing that all necessary documentation has been procured prior to the wedding.

402.7.1 Baptismal Certificate:  A Catholic baptismal certificate issued within the last six months should always be obtained. Baptismal certificates from other denominations should also be obtained.

402.7.2 Notations: Catholic baptismal certificates should always be authenticated personally by one of the priests, deacons, or parish ministers. They must include an indication about the presence or absence of all notations about sacraments received, any previous marriages, religious profession, or ordination.

402.7.3 Photocopies:  Photocopies of documents (i.e., baptismal and marriage certificates, divorce papers, etc.) should not be accepted unless they are certified by a priest or proper authority. Original documents must be presented and a photocopy may then be placed in the prenuptial file. (See Sacramental Records Policy for the Archdiocese of Baltimore)

402.7.4 Civil Law Requirements:  The civil requirements for marriage (e.g. a civil marriage license) must be met prior to the celebration of the marriage in the Church.

402.7.5 Dispensations and Permissions:  Requests for dispensations for disparity of cult and special permissions should be sent to the Tribunal in a timely fashion, accompanied by the full premarital file. Dispensation forms should be filled out fully and the names of the parties should be properly entered on the return stub. Documents to be retained in the prenuptial file include grants of dispensations or permissions, the prenuptial questionnaire, recent baptismal records, all legal documents (civil or ecclesiastical) needed to confirm the parties’ freedom to marry, and witness affidavits if needed.


Common Types of Permissions Canon Result If Not Granted Who May Grant in Archdiocese of Balt
Mixed religion c.1124, 1125 Marriage illicit Diocesan Bishop, Vicar Bishops, Vicar General, Tribunal Vicars of the Catholic party

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marriage of Transients c. 1071, 1° Marriage illicit
Marriage unable to be recognized by civil law c. 1071, 2° Marriage illicit
Marriage of person bound by natural obligations toward another party or children arising from a previous union c. 1071, 3° Marriage illicit
Marriage of person who has notoriously left the Catholic faith c. 1071, 4° Marriage illicit
Marriage of minor child when parents reasonably opposed c. 1071, 6° Marriage illicit
Ceremony by priest in non-Catholic church c. 1118 Marriage illicit
Ceremony in place other than a church c. 1118 Marriage illicit
Permission for Catholic to be married outside their parish c. 1115 Marriage illicit Local Ordinary or Pastor

Common Types of Dispensations Canon Result If No Dispensation Who May Grant in Archdiocese of Balto
Disparity of Worship

(Catholic & Non-baptized person)

c. 1086 Marriage is invalid Diocesan Bishop, Auxiliary Bishops, Vicar General, Tribunal delegates

of the Catholic party

Disparity of Worship ad cautelum

(doubtful baptism)

c. 1086 Marriage is invalid
Consanguinity

(blood relationship)

c. 1091 Marriage is invalid
Affinity

(marital relationship)

c. 1092 Marriage is invalid
Canonical Form

(not available for 2 Catholics)

c. 1127 § 2 Marriage is invalid
Delegation c. 1111 Marriage is invalid Diocesan Bishops, Local Ordinary, Pastor or Associate Pastor or parish Deacon

402.7.6 Role of the Tribunal:  Requests for prenuptial permissions, dispensations, or a Nihil Obstat, as well as for declarations of nullity due to lack of form should be sent to the Tribunal. The Tribunal handles all formal and documentary annulment processes and all Pauline Privilege and Privilege of the Faith Cases.

402.7.7 Dispensations from Canonical Form:  Dispensations from canonical form can be granted only by the local Ordinary of the Catholic party and not by the Ordinary of the place where the marriage will be celebrated. Prenuptial papers for a marriage celebrated with a dispensation from canonical form are to be filed in the parish that made application.

402.7.8 Transfer of Pre-Nuptial File to Place of Marriage Outside the Diocese: According to traditional protocol, marriage papers for marriages to be celebrated in a Catholic Church in another diocese should be transmitted through the Tribunal of the Archdiocese of Baltimore for review and the granting of a visum or nihil obstat, who will in turn send it to the diocese where the wedding will be celebrated. (See Policy §404.15. Weddings Occurring in Another Diocese, herein)

402.7.9No Fees:  No fee is required for marriage permissions, or dispensations.

402.7.10  For those who have been previously married:

  • Decree of Nullity:  If a decree of nullity of the previous marriage has been issued by the Tribunal, a copy of this should be included in the prenuptial papers. If the decree places a restriction of any kind on the party planning to enter a new marriage, no wedding date should be set before first contacting the Tribunal for additional information and consultation. (Canon 1684 §1.)
  • Lack of Form:  If not previously obtained, petitions for a declaration of nullity due to lack of form must be filled out fully and signed by both the petitioner and the parish minister.

Such petitions must be accompanied by the following documents:

  • A certificate of the marriage attempted outside the Church,
  • A record of the civil divorce or annulment,
  • A recent baptismal certificate of the Catholic party, and
  • If a baptismal certficate is not available, affidavits from two qualified witnesses testifying that the marriage in question was never validated by a Catholic priest or deacon.

No wedding date should be set for a marriage requiring a declaration of nullity due to lack of form until after the decree of nullity has been issued.

402.7.11 Record of Marriage:  Marriages are to be recorded according to the proper procedures in the parish record book of marriages. Notification of the marriage is sent to the Church of Baptism. (See Canon 1121 and the Archdiocese of Baltimore Sacramental Records Policy)


403 ESTABLISHING MARRIAGE CELEBRATION SCHEDULES


403.1 CREATING A SCHEDULING POLICY:

A fair and reasonable parish policy needs to be established to ensure that Catholics have reasonable options available to them in scheduling their marriages at Mass or outside Mass. This will have to take into account the full schedule of parish services and the number of available clergy in each parish.

403.2 COMMUNICATING SCHEDULING POLICY:

The parish policy for the scheduling of marriage celebrations should be clearly communicated to all parishioners. The parish policy should appear regularly in the parish bulletin. parish website, and be available in print as part of whatever marriage preparation materials are given to engaged couples. Since the number of weddings celebrated at Mass may be limited in a particular parish, couples should be helped to understand that it will not always be possible to celebrate a wedding on the day of their first choice.

403.3 FOSTERING COMMUNAL NATURE OF THE SACRAMENT:

In the scheduling of marriage liturgies, the communal nature of the sacrament of marriage should be fostered. Appropriate catechesis of the faithful is necessary to help the community to understand the communal dimension of this sacrament. This is especially important, if marriages are to be celebrated occasionally at a regularly scheduled Sunday Mass or if several marriages are celebrated together.

403.4 RESPECTING LITURGICAL CALENDAR :

In establishing a parish marriage schedule, the integrity of the liturgical calendar and the community’s celebration of Sunday should be respected.

Procedure:

SOLEMNITY OR SEASON WEDDING LITURGY

ALLOWED

NUPTIAL MASS & TEXTS MARRIAGE READINGS ALLOWED NUPTIAL BLESSINGS ALLOWED
O.T. Sundays
Parish Mass Yes No 1 Yes
Extra Mass Yes Yes All Yes
Sundays of:
Advent/Lent/Easter Yes No 1 Yes
Epiphany, Pentecost,

Corpus Christi

Yes No No Yes
Sundays of Christmas Season:
Parish Mass Yes No 1 Yes
Extra Mass Yes Yes All Yes
Solomnities:
Christmas Yes No No Yes
Paschal Tridium No No No No
Easter Sunday Yes No No Yes
Easter Octave Yes No 1 Yes
All Saints Yes No No Yes
Assumption Yes No 1 Yes
January 1 Yes No No Yes
Immaculate Conception Yes No No Yes

403.5 Policy for the Number and Time of Weddings:

A parish, through consultation with the Chancellor, may develop a policy scheduling the number and the time of weddings on a given day depending on the pastoral situation and the number of ministers available to celebrate marriages. This parish policy also includes the scheduling of special wedding anniversary Masses.

403.6 RITUAL OF MARRIAGE OUTSIDE OF MASS:

The Ritual of Marriage outside Mass (II) may be used with no restriction, keeping in mind the character of the season.

403.7 SATISFYING OBLIGATION TO PARTICIPATE IN MASS:

A Catholic satisfies the obligation to participate in the Mass in a Catholic rite by attending or assisting at any mass, including wedding Masses, on a Sunday, Holy Day, Saturday evening or the vigil of a Holy Day (Canon 1248). While the Code of Canon Law does not provide an explicit definition, “evening” is generally understood as late afternoon from about 4:00 PM.

403.8 MORE THAN ONE WEDDING AT SAME CEREMONY:

Parish communities may invite more than one couple to consider celebrating their weddings at the same ceremony or Mass. Parishes shall continue to offer couples the option, however, of having individual celebrations of marriage. (Canon 1115)

403.9 VISITING CLERGY:

If visiting Catholic clergy have been invited to witness a wedding, it is understood that they are to honor the parish’s scheduling policy as well as Archdiocesan and parochial expectations for marriage preparation and the celebration of the liturgy. They are also to obtain proper Event Faculties through the Office of Clergy Personnel before they arrive to witness the event. (See Policy §402.1.1., Responsibility for Witnessing, herein)


404 STYLE OF MARRIAGE CELEBRATIONS


404.1 RESPECTING THE RITE OF CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE:

The Catholic experience of celebrating marriage vows clearly conveys the Church’s beliefs about the Sacrament of Marriage. The Rite of Christian Marriage needs to be respected in its structure and content.

404.2 CONSIDERATIONS IN PLANNING CELEBRATION OF CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE:

The pastoral circumstances of the couple, including their religious and family background and practice, their language and culture, the available resources of the parish, the liturgical norms, and canon law are to be considered in the course of planning the celebration of Christian marriage. The Rite of Christian Marriage offers a number of legitimate options to meet these various needs.

404.3 APPRECIATING SACRED CHARACTER OF MARRIAGE:

Clergy and laity involved in the marriage preparation of engaged couples should help couples appreciate the liturgical nature and the liturgical norms relevant to the Rite of Christian Marriage. Parish ministers should encourage engaged couples to avoid all forms of extravagance that would detract from the sacred character of marriage as a sacrament of the church.

404.4 CELEBRATING MARRIAGE AT MASS:

The Rite of Christian Marriage for two Catholics may take place at Mass. However, this presumes that the couples regularly participates in the Sunday Eucharist and are not strangers to their own faith tradition. In some cases, pastoral ministers may need to respectfully encourage the celebration of marriage outside of Mass.

404.5 COMMUNICATING POLICIES FOR STYLE OF MARRIAGE CELEBRATIONS:

Parish policies governing the style of marriage celebrations in the parish should be clearly communicated and easily accessible for engaged couples. These parish policies should appear at regular intervals in the parish bulletin.

404.6 RESTRICTIONS ON PRIEST OFFICIATING:

In the Rite of Christian Marriage, the presiding minister serves as the Church’s official witness. A priest or deacon is never permitted to officiate at a wedding in the role of merely a civil official; nor may he officiate at a wedding in which neither of the parties is Catholic, except in the case of catechumens. (Also see Policy §404.8.1 Christian Marriages Involving Catechumens, herein).

404.7 ASSEMBLY PARTICIPATION:

As is the norm in all liturgical celebrations, the assembly shall be encouraged to participate in the wedding liturgy by making the proper recited and sung responses.

404.8 PLACE OF WEDDING:

Weddings ordinarily shall take place in a parish church. The Archbishop of Baltimore may permit a wedding between two Catholics or between a Catholic and a non-Catholic or a Catholic and a non-baptized person to be celebrated in another church, oratory or suitable place (canon 1118). While always encouraging the faithful to celebrate their wedding in a place of worship, another venue may be deemed a suitable place by the Archbishop or his delegate.

404.8.1 Parish Churches: All Catholics who are baptized and free to marry in the Catholic Church may celebrate their marriages in the parish church of either the bride or the groom. Permission to be married in another parish is to be obtained from either the pastor of the bride or of the groom. It is preferred that weddings occur in the parish church of one of the Catholic parties rather than in any school, university, hospital or other Catholic chapel.

404.8.2 Weddings at a Catholic High School, Catholic University or College Chapel or Other Catholic Location

404.8.2.1 Who May Marry at Approved Catholic High Schools, Universities, Colleges or other Catholic Locations: As a general rule only the alumni, current employees, or others closely connected to the institution are eligible to be married in the chapel at a Catholic High School, University, College or other Catholic location.

  1. If these persons are baptized Catholics, they must be in good standing with the Church and free to marry in the Catholic Church to be eligible to be married at the chapel at approved Catholic venue.
  2. In other words, every wedding involving a Catholic (practicing or not) must be able to be recognized by the Roman Catholic Church which means it must be able to be witnessed by a priest or deacon.

404.8.2.2 Who May Officiate at Approved Catholic High Schools, Universities, Colleges or Other Catholic Locations: Baptized Catholics may be married only by a priest or deacon in good standing and properly recognized by the Church. No former Catholic priests or deacons may act as officiants for any wedding on the property, whether in the chapel or not.

404.8.2.3 Weddings Between Non-Catholics at Catholic Chapels: Weddings between two non-Catholics may occur in the chapel with proper liturgical preparation as long as they are alumni, current employees or other closely connected to the institution and the sacramental character of the chapel is maintained during the ceremony.

Procedure: How Catholic High Schools, Universities, Colleges or Other Approved Catholic Locations May Host Weddings

404.8.2.4 Institutions Who May Apply: Any currently operating Catholic High School, University, College or other Catholic location within the boundaries of the Archdiocese of Baltimore may apply to the Chancery office to allow approved Catholic weddings to take place at its location.

404.8.2.5 Application Process: A proper application for this permission must be filed with the Chancellor and include all items listed in 404.8.2.6 below.

404.8.2.6 Marriage Policy Agreement: A signed Marriage Policy agreement with the local parish in which the Catholic Institution is located indicating the manner in which the parish and Institution will be working together with couples seeking to be married at the Institution location (for examples, please contact the Chancery).

  1. Freedom to Marry and Preparation:  This agreement must establish who will be responsible for determining the freedom to marry of the engaged couple as well as the proper preparation and liturgical norms that will be observed at the proposed Chapel location. (See Archdiocese of Baltimore Marriage Policy, 401 et. seq. for more information)
  2. Signatures:  The agreement must be signed by the Institution President or their equivalent and the current pastor.
  3. New Pastor – New Agreement:  A new application must be made when a new pastor is appointed to the local parish in which the chapel is located to assure harmonious relations in this area.
  4. Catholic Institution Contact Person: The name of the person responsible at the Institution’s location for scheduling Catholic weddings;
  5. Instructional Session: A promise by the Institution that the person responsible for scheduling Catholic weddings will attend the annual instruction session regarding the wedding process held by the Metropolitan Tribunal;
  6. Policy Promise: That the Institution would comply with the policy regarding Catholic weddings at its chapel in regard to the qualifying couple, suitable clergy and the preparation and execution of all pre-marriage papers including the granting of dispensations and permissions (see policy below).
  7. Reporting Requirement: The Institution will send a report to the Chancellor, Judicial Vicar and the pastor of the Parish on or about January 1 of each year that will detail for the previous calendar year:
    1. The total number of weddings held at the site;
    2. The total number of Catholic weddings held at the site;
    3. The number of weddings involving Catholics resident in the Archdiocese of Baltimore married at the site;
    4. A complete list of all Catholic priests or deacons who witnessed weddings at the site and their diocese or  religious community of incardination; and
    5. Total amount of income acquired from weddings held at the site.
  8. The Approved Institution’s Responsibilities for a Catholic Wedding at an Approved Chapel:
    1. Freedom to Marry:  The Chapel location will be responsible for making sure any baptized Catholic (practicing or not) is free to marry in the Catholic Church and is marrying according to the requirements of church law as determined in the agreement with the local parish as referred to above.
    2. Parish Notification:  The Chapel will immediately notify the local Parish that there has been a request for a wedding at the Chapel location and will work with the parish in which the couple reside using the approved procedure developed by the Chapel and parish (see above section) in order to allow for good relations between the Chapel and the proper preparation of the couple for the Sacrament of Marriage.
    3. Clergy Suitability: The Chapel will be responsible for making sure that all Catholic clergy (priests and deacons) from any diocese or religious community have been granted faculties from the Archdiocese of Baltimore (see 5 below). For more information about clerical faculties in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, see https://www.archbalt.org/clergy-personnel-division/event-faculties/
    4. Dispensations and Permissions:  All dispensations and permissions must also be obtained from the Metropolitan Tribunal including the permission for a wedding outside the parish church.
    5. Access to Files: The Chapel will allow access to its marriage files by the Judicial Vicar, the Pastor or his delegate should any questions arise regarding these matters.

404.8.2.7 Granting of Permission: After receiving all information required from the applying entity, the Chancellor will review this information and notify the Catholic Institution of the decision within 30 days of receiving the application. Permission is granted initially for three years and can be renewed if a new application is presented. If a new pastor is appointed during this time, a new agreement with the Catholic location is required for weddings to continue at that site.

404.8.2.8 Withdrawal of Permission:  If a specifically approved Institution does not comply with these policies, their ability to continue to host Catholic weddings will be withdrawn by the Chancery Office at its own initiative.

404.8.2.9 Effects of Catholic Chapel Recognition by the Chancery:  Once approved as a Catholic marriage site by the Chancery Office, the name of the location will be listed on the Archdiocesan policy website. The Judicial Vicar will refer to this list of approved sites in order to grant permission for weddings at these locations. If the location is NOT on the approved list, proper application must be made to the Chancery office under section 404.8.3 below.

404.8.3 Weddings Outside the Parish Church Including Indoor or Outdoor Wedding Venues (not at an approved Catholic chapel location)

404.8.3.1 These norms apply to the Catholic subjects of the Archbishop of Baltimore who reside (have a domicile or quasi-domicile) within the boundaries of the Archdiocese of Baltimore;

404.8.3.2 Who May Apply for a Wedding Outside the Parish Church: Requests for weddings to be held at outside a parish church are to be made by the preparing priest or deacon to the Archbishop of Baltimore through the Chancellor’s office at least six months in advance.

404.8.3.3 Type of Ceremony Permitted: In a ceremony outside the parish or approved Catholic chapel location, a Liturgy of the Word ceremony with Exchange of Consent and blessings is permitted. All liturgical norms for weddings continue to apply (see Archdiocese of Baltimore policy on the Sacrament of Marriage, 400 et. seq.).

404.8.3.4 Venues:  Wedding venues outside the parish church should be reasonable and in keeping with a religious celebration. The place of the ceremony should establish a prayerful, sacred feeling for the couple and their guests. The couple should not irrevocably secure the venue until they have received permission from the Chancery office for the wedding to take place at the proposed venue.

404.8.3.5 Venues Outside the boundaries of the Archdiocese of Baltimore:  Requests for venues outside those boundaries will require accommodation by the bishop of other dioceses and cannot be guaranteed. The Chancery Office will work with other dioceses to try to secure the requisite permissions.

Examples of Unsuitable Locations: Some examples of places not suitable for the celebration of a wedding would be (this list is not exhaustive) on a boat, any place where alcohol is served as a matter of course such as casinos, bars, night clubs or the like. Locations that are deemed unsuitable by the Archbishop will not be permitted.

404.8.3.6 Outdoor Venues: An outdoor venue must meet the same criteria as is listed above AND it MUST have an approved indoor venue available in case of inclement weather. Other criteria include:

  1. Same County Requirement: Both the outdoor and indoor venues must be in the same county to avoid issues related to the issuance of a marriage license for the ceremony (in Maryland the couple must obtain the marriage license in the county or City of Baltimore location in which they are to be married);
  2. Respect for the Sacrament: All requests must be made in good faith, which would illustrate the desire to maintain a respect and reverence toward the Sacrament of Marriage.
  3. Proper Preparation Required: The requesting couple must complete the required pre-nuptial preparation for all persons seeking the Sacrament of Marriage within the Archdiocese of Baltimore (see Archdiocese of Baltimore Marriage Policies, 401 et. seq.)
  4. Proper Liturgical Music Required:  The norms regarding Sacred Music are to be observed for the wedding ceremony and properly trained Church music ministers are to be employed at the approved wedding location.
  5. Local Faculties Required: The preparing priest or deacon must have faculties within the Archdiocese of Baltimore. All priests who reside outside the Archdiocese of Baltimore and wish to witness a wedding within its boundaries must at least acquire Event Faculties well prior to the wedding itself. For more information regarding this process visit this link: https://www.archbalt.org/division-of-clergy-personnel/priests/

404.8.3.7 Procedure for Chancery Approval of Venue:

Submission of Petition: A petition to permit a wedding outside the parish church must be sent to by the preparing cleric to the attention of the Chancellor via regular mail, email or fax and must be received at least 6 months in advance. The application form is to be utilized for this purpose.

  1. Response to Petition:  Once the petition is reviewed and within 30 days of receiving the complete information, the Chancellor will issue a letter addressing the request.
  2. Granting the Request:  If the request is granted the letter will indicate the proper parish location for delegation and the retention of the pre-nuptial file.
    1. This letter will include the permission required under canon 1118, the name of the parish where the wedding will take place and instructions regarding the proper place for the prenuptial file.
    2. A copy of this letter is to be sent to the requesting priest or deacon, the couple, the Judicial Vicar and the pastor of the parish in which the event is to take place.
  3. Declining the Request: If the request is declined, the reasons for the refusal will be included in the letter. The decision of the Archbishop of Baltimore is final.

404.8.3.8 Delegation from Pastor Required: Any priest or deacon witnessing a wedding outside the parish church must contact the local pastor as identified in the Chancery letter granting the request to obtain local delegation and provide the pastor with the complete pre-nuptial file for review at least 60 days prior to the date of the wedding so he can give informed delegation.

404.8.3.9 Additional Dispensations/Permissions if the Request Is Granted: If the request is granted, any additional requests for dispensations or permissions are to be submitted to the Judicial Vicar for proper handling.

404.8.3.10 Chancery Record Keeping: The Chancery Office will retain a record of the petitions submitted for weddings outside a parish church that shall include the names of the parties, their baptismal status, their parishes of domicile, the name of the requesting priest, the place of the proposed wedding, the parish where the proposed wedding is to take place, the date of the request, the date of the letter addressing the request, whether the request was granted or not. This information is to be provided to the Office of the Tribunal so it can be preserved with the other records regarding dispensations or permissions concerning marriages.

404.8.4 Dispensations from Canonical Form for Marriages at other locations:  Dispensation may be granted for:

  1. A wedding between a Catholic and baptized Christian where the ceremony will be witnessed by the baptized Christian’s minister in a recognized house of worship for that denomination; or
  2. For a Catholic – Jewish wedding where the Jewish official will witness the ceremony at a house of worship or other appropriate indoor venue; or
  3. For a Catholic – Non-baptized wedding (Mormon, etc.) where the religious official will witness the ceremony at a house of worship or other appropriate indoor venue.

404.9 RITE FOR CELEBRATING MARRIAGE OUTSIDE OF MASS:

In a marriage between a Catholic and a baptized non-Catholic, it is expected that the Rite for Celebrating Marriage Outside Mass be used. If circumstances justify it and the non-Catholic party agrees to have a Mass, the rite for celebrating marriage within Mass may be used, except that, according to the general law, communion is not given to the non-Catholics.

404.9.1 Pastoral Considerations: Celebrating a Christian marriage at Mass may make the celebration awkward for both parties by highlighting their differences in faith traditions. This awkwardness is further accentuated in cases where non-Catholic clergy are invited to participate in a marriage celebrated at Mass.

404.9.2 Distribution of Communion: In the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the distribution of Holy Communion shall not be included in marriage ceremonies celebrated outside of Mass. The only exception to this policy is when a deacon witnesses a marriage ceremony in order to meet the special language or cultural needs of a couple. In such an instance, a communion service, while not encouraged, is permitted.

404.9.3 Communion Service: While the Rite of Christian Marriage allows a communion service to be celebrated after the exchange of vows, a sufficient number of priests available to celebrate a wedding Mass in the Archdiocese of Baltimore makes the use of this option of the Rite unnecessary in the Archdiocese.

404.10 CATHOLIC/EASTERN NON-CATHOLIC WEDDINGS:

When a marriage is celebrated between a Catholic and someone of non-Catholic Eastern tradition, only one religious ceremony is to take place. If the marriage is celebrated in the Catholic Church, the Roman Catholic ritual is used and, for the sake of integrity, the rituals of the two traditions should not be integrated into one ceremony.

404.10.1 Questions regarding Marriages Involving Orthodox Christians:  Questions regarding marriages involving a Catholic and an Orthodox Christian should be directed to the Tribunal or Chancery. The canonical form obligation in such cases is only for lawfulness (liceity); for validity, the presence of a sacred minister from the Orthodox church is required along with the observance of other requirements of  Orthodox law (proper exchange of the vows, nuptial blessing, etc.).

404.10.2 Status of Christian marriages entered by an Eastern non-Catholic and another non-Catholic: In those cases where an Eastern non-Catholic and another non-Catholic enter marriage before someone other than an Eastern non-Catholic priest are considered invalid by the Catholic Church, and a declaration of nullity for such marriages can be obtained from the Tribunal in a procedure similar to Catholic Defect of Form cases.

404.10.3 Status of Marriages between Latin Rite Catholics and Eastern non-Catholic Christians:  Marriage between Latin Rite Catholics and Eastern Non-Catholics entered without a dispensation from canonical form on or after March 24, 1967, before an Eastern non-Catholic priest are considered valid; such marriages between Eastern Catholics and Eastern non-Catholic Christians entered on or after January 21, 1965 (April 7, 1965 for Ukrainian Catholics) are also considered valid.

404.11 MARRIAGE CEREMONIES INVOLVING NON-CHRISTIANS AND/OR CATECHUMENS:

Marriages involving a non-Christian (after reception of a dispensation from disparity of worship), shall be celebrated at a Liturgy of the Word and not at the Eucharistic liturgy. (See The Rite of Marriage, #8). While recognizing that catechumens are already joined to the household of the church, marriages involving catechumens shall likewise be celebrated at a Liturgy of the Word. Chapter III of the Rite of Marriage is to be followed with allowance for the nuptial blessing in Chapter I, #33 to be used (omitting all references to Eucharistic sharing.) (See National Statutes for the Catechumenate, #10, The Sacraments of Initiation, herein)

404.12 Marriage between Catholics and Unbaptized PersonsA Catholic priest or deacon with the faculty to witness marriages may witness the marriage of a Catholic and an unbaptized person with the usual dispensation from disparity of cult. The preferred choice would be to celebrate the marriage in the Catholic Church or a chapel or other suitable place on parish property. The Catholic marriage ritual is preferred, modified to include sensitivity to the party of the other religious tradition.  Customs of the other party’s tradition may be incorporated into the ceremony, unless they are contrary to Catholic teaching.

404.12.1 Exchange of Vows: The clergy person of the other religious tradition can be invited to participate in the ceremony, but the Catholic priest or deacon officially witnesses the exchange of vows. (See Policy §404.3., Place of Wedding, herein)

404.12.2 Pastoral Sensitivity: In all of the above situations, Catholic priests and deacons should be aware of the sensitive nature of ministering to a Catholic who is engaged to someone unbaptized. Catholic-unbaptized engaged couple. Pastoral care prior to and following the wedding should offer the couple support and assistance. Priests and deacons should not hesitate to get involved in the marriage preparation and celebration of marriage for these couples.   (See Policy §404.3., Place of Wedding, herein)

404.12.3 Review of Religious Significance of Other Religious Rites: The traditional wedding ceremonies in some other religions include rites which in effect would constitute joining another religion (communicatio in sacris). For this reason a pastoral minister should inquire carefully into the religious significance of traditional wedding customs before permitting them to be included in a Catholic ceremony. For example, there is no traditional Islamic marriage rite other than the witnessing of the contract and the public transfer of the bride to the house of the groom. Given that this traditional Islamic ritual can include elements foreign to Christian marriage, very careful planning and agreement must precede any dispensation to allow this rite. The traditional form in an Islamic marriage usually requires the partner to make the profession of faith which converts a person to Islam as a prior condition. Since this would constitute apostasy by formal act, it is impossible for the Catholic to participate in such a ritual. It is conceivable though that, with careful consultation, a modified traditional Islamic celebration could be planned which would be acceptable and a dispensation could be granted for this form.

404.13 RESPECTING LITURGICAL ROLES OF PARTICIPANTS:

The wedding couple shall be helped to appreciate their special role in the marriage rite in which they in fact are the ministers, and as such, they confer the sacrament on one another through the exchange of vows. Respecting the liturgical principle that only one role should be exercised at the liturgy by each individual, other members of the family and parish community shall be invited to serve in the marriage liturgy as lectors, cantors, musicians, or ushers

Procedure:

Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion can be invited to assist in the distribution of Holy Communion, if needed.

404.14 ROLE OF THE COUPLE TO BE MARRIED:

While the couple are the ministers of the sacrament of marriage, it is not appropriate for them to serve in any other liturgical role.

404.14.1 Administration of Communion: It is not appropriate for the wedding couple to administer Holy Communion to each other or to the assembly.

404.14.2 Eucharistic Prayer:  It is also inappropriate for the wedding couple to stand on either side of the presider during the Eucharistic prayer as if they were concelebrants.

404.15 ADMISSION OF NON-CATHOLIC PERSONS TO HOLY COMMUNION:

Admission to Holy Communion to members of non-Catholic churches at Catholic weddings is not possible under present circumstances. Because Catholics believe that the celebration of the Eucharist is a sign of the reality of the oneness of faith, life, and worship, members of those churches with whom we are not yet fully united are ordinarily not admitted to Communion. Eucharistic sharing in exceptional circumstances by other Christians requires permission according to the directives of the diocesan bishop and the provisions of canon law.

404.15.1 Norms: Specific norms governing admission are clearly articulated in the policy of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops which states: “We welcome our fellow Christians to this celebration of the Eucharist as our brothers and sisters. We pray that our common baptism and the action of the Holy Spirit in this Eucharist will draw us closer to one another and begin to dispel the sad divisions which separate us. We pray that these will lessen and finally disappear, in keeping with Christ’s prayer for us ‘that they may all be one’ (John 17:21).”

404.15.2 Requirements under Canon 844: Catholic ministers may licitly administer the sacraments of penance, Eucharist and anointing of the sick to members of the oriental churches which do not have full Communion with the Catholic Church, if they ask on their own for the sacraments and are properly disposed. This holds also for members of other churches, which in the judgment of the Apostolic See are in the same condition as the oriental churches as far as these sacraments are concerned” (CIC 844 § 3). Christians in these churches should, of course, respect their own church’s guidelines regarding when it would be permissible for them to receive Communion in a Catholic church.

404.15.3 Protestants: The circumstances in which Protestants are permitted to receive Communion are more limited, though it is still possible for them to do so under certain specifically defined circumstances.

404.15.4 Danger of Death: Canon law explains the parameters:”If the danger of death is present or other grave necessity, in the judgment of the diocesan bishop or the conference of bishops, Catholic ministers may licitly administer these sacraments to other Christians who do not have full Communion with the Catholic Church, who cannot approach a minister of their own community and on their own ask for it, provided they manifest Catholic faith in these sacraments and are properly disposed”. (CIC 844 § 4)

404.16 INTEGRATION OF ETHNIC AND FOLK CUSTOMS:

Ethnic and folk customs associated with the celebration of marriage in the Catholic Church from other countries are to be respected and may be incorporated into the liturgy. The manner in which these or any other customs are incorporated into the liturgy must always respect the integrity of the liturgy and the universal principles articulated in The Rite of Christian Marriage and should not be contrary to Catholic teachings.

Procedure:

When questions arise regarding the appropriateness of a proposed cultural adaptation of the rite of Christian marriage, parishes are to consult with the Office of Worship and Sacramental Formation (or with the Chancellor).

404.17 SELECTION OF MUSIC:

Choice of music at weddings must be in accord with all the norms governing music in the liturgy, especially those found in Sing to the Lord: Music in Divine Worship. (#216-222).

404.17.1 Couple to Choose with Assistance: The pastor and/or pastoral musician/liturgist shall assist the couple in selecting appropriate music for the wedding ceremony. Furthermore, the musician shall make an effort to provide a wide range of music selections to the couple, particularly in the choice of music to be sung by the entire assembly present for the liturgy(Sing to the Lord, # 218)

404.17.2 Basis for Judgements: In consultation with the pastoral musician/liturgist, the choice and placement of wedding music should follow the three judgments proposed in Sing to the Lord (#126).  “Judgments must be made together, and no individual judgment can be applied in isolation from the other two.”  The judgments include: liturgical, pastoral and musical.  (See Sing to the Lord, #126-136)

404.17.3 Secular Music: “Secular music, even though it may emphasize the love of the spouses for one another, is not appropriate for the Sacred Liturgy.  Songs that are chosen for the Liturgy should be appropriate for the celebration and express the faith of the Church.”  (Sing to the Lord, #220)

404.17.4 Recorded Music: Recorded music “should not, as a general norm, be used within the Liturgy.” (Sing to the Lord, #93) The use of any recorded music must be approved by the pastor and/or pastoral musician.

404.18 WEDDINGS OCCURRING IN ANOTHER DIOCESE:

In those situations where a Catholic lives in the Archdiocese of Baltimore and seeks to marry another (Catholic or non-Catholic) in a different diocese (whether in the US or abroad), the parish in the Archdiocese of Baltimore is obligated to assist the Catholic party in preparing for marriage.

404.18.1 Responsibility of Clerics:  It should be remembered that most couples have little understanding or experience in preparing for a Catholic marriage, therefore, clerics and pastoral leaders must provide leadership and assistance to them at this crucial time. Priests or deacons in the Archdiocese of Baltimore must assist in any possible way all those who reside in the territory of their parish to assure the wedding is a valid marriage regardless of where the wedding is occurring. The cleric or pastoral leader at the place of domicile must cooperate with the cleric who will witness the union to coordinate the necessary pastoral preparation, document preparation and other items so the couple’s wedding may occur without difficulty.

404.18.2 Prenuptial Documents:  If the prenuptial documents are prepared in the Archdiocese of Baltimore for a Catholic residing here, the full prenuptial file is submitted to the Archdiocesan Tribunal so proper permissions and/or dispensations may be granted. These submissions should be made at least 60 days before the wedding.

Bride / Groom

Where Catholic Resides

Who Prepares Papers

Who Grants Disp / Permissions

Both Catholic Both in Archdiocese of Baltimore Either Archdiocese of Baltimore priest or outside priest Archdiocese of Baltimore only (see table in §404.14.1.)
Catholic/Non Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore Archdiocese of Baltimore only
Catholic/Non Catholic Outside Archdiocese of Baltimore Diocese where Catholic resides
Both Catholic 1 in Archdiocese of Baltimore,

1 outside Archdiocese of Baltimore

Either Archdiocese of Baltimore or diocese where other Catholic resides
Both Catholic Neither in Archdiocese of Baltimore Diocese where either Catholic resides

404.18.3 Review of Prenuptial File: The prenuptial file, with the requisite nihil obstat or visum is then forwarded to the Chancery of the diocese where the wedding will take place with instructions to forward the file to the local parish where the wedding is scheduled. The preparing cleric or parish minister should include these addresses when submitting the papers to the Tribunal.

404.18.4 Couple to Receive a Copy of File:  The couple will receive a copy of the prenuptial file from the Tribunal from the Archdiocese of Baltimore to carry with them to the wedding in case the original papers are delayed for any reason.


RESOURCES

Preparation

1.      The Rite of Christian Marriage, nos. 5 & 7.

2.      A Marriage in the Lord: Preparing for Marriage in the Catholic Church. Archdiocese of Baltimore, 1999.

3.      Joseph M. Champlin, Together for Life: A Preparation for Marriage and for the Ceremony. Notre Dame: Ave Maria Press, 2007 (Several editions including one for Marriage Outside Mass).

4.      Joseph M. Champlin,  Juntos para Toda la Vida: Una Preparación para el Matrimonio y la Ceremonia. Liguori, MO: Liguori Publications, 2007.

5.      For Your Marriage. USCCB National Pastoral Marriage Initiative website for engaged and married couples and those who minister to them. www.foryourmarriage.org

6.      Por Tu Matrimonio. USCCB Marriage Website in Spanish. www.portumatrimonio .

7.      Marriage and Family Life Office. Preparation program options and schedule. Archdiocese of Baltimore website, http://www.archbalt.org/family-life/marriage-family/marriage-preparation/index.cfm

  1. Paul Covino, Ceremony Optionshttp://foryourmarriage.org/catholic-marriage/planning-a-catholic-wedding/ceremony-options/
  2. Bishops’ Committee for Laity, Marriage, Family Life, and Youth, National Pastoral Intitiative on Marriage, An Analysis of Diocesan Marriage Preparation Policies.2005http://www.usccb.org/laity/marriage/mpanalysis.shtml
  3. Robert Ruhnke, C.SS.R., For Better and Forever: Resource for Couples Preparing for Christian Marriage(Catholic Edition). San Antonio: Marriage Preparation Resources, 2003. Also in Spanish.

11.  Austin Fleming, Parish Weddings, Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications, 1987.

  1. Guidelines for Celebration of the Sacraments With Persons With Disabilities, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. 1995.

Presiders

1.The Rite of Christian Marriage, nos. 6, 8, & 9.

2.The Rite of Marriage, Binder & Ritual Cards (based on Together for Life), Notre Dame: Ave Maria Press, 2002.

3.A Marriage Sourcebook, ed. by J. Robert Baker, Joni Reiff Gibley, Kevin Charles Gibley. Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications. 1994

4.The Code of Canon Law, Canons 905, 1108 & 1111.

5.Michael Kwatera, The Liturgical Ministry of Deacons, Second Edition. Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2005, pp. 63-66.

Scheduling

1.The Code of Canon Law, Canons 905 & 1118.

2.Congregation for Divine Worship, Directory for Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest, 1988, nos. 8 & 10.

Style

1.The Rite of Christian Marriage, nos. 6-11.

2.Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy, Concelebration Guidelines, 2003.

  1. Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy, Sing to the LordMusic for Divine Worship, 2007. http://www.usccb.org/liturgy/SingToTheLord.pdf.

4.Paul Covino, Editor, Celebrating Marriage: Preparing the Roman Catholic Wedding Liturgy: A Workbook for Engaged Couples (Third Edition). Oregon Catholic Press, 2006.

5.Austin Fleming, Parish Weddings. Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications, 1987.

  1. Paul Turner, The Catholic Wedding Answer Book. Ministry & Liturgy Magazine Answers the 101 Most-Asked Questions. Resource Publications, 2001.
  2. Charles M. Wible. I Do and Beyond: Planning the Catholic Wedding Ceremony. Baltimore, MD: Cathedral Foundation Press, 2010.

500 THE SACRAMENT OF ANOINTING OF THE SICK


Christ strengthens the faithful who are afflicted by illness, providing them with the strongest means of support and comfort. The sick are reminded that Christ and the Church are in communion with their suffering.

The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick conferred by the anointing with oil and pronouncing of the words prescribed in the liturgical books, commends the faithful who are dangerously ill and suffering to the Lord Jesus in order that he may relieve and save them (cf. Can 998).

The sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, situated within the Pastoral Care of the Sick and Dying, continues Christ’s great concern for the bodily and spiritual welfare of sick people. This ministry is shared by all Christians who visit the sick, remember them in prayer and care for them in time of need (PCS 43).

“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church…” (Col 1:24).

“Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven” (James 5:14-15).

Through the sacred Anointing of the Sick and the prayer of the priests the whole Church commends the sick to the suffering and glorified Lord, asking that he may lighten their suffering and save them, she exhorts them to contribute to the welfare of the whole people of God by associating themselves freely with the passion and death of Christ” (cf. Lumen Gentium, 11).


501 CELEBRATION OF THE SACRAMENT


501.1 Oil of the Sick:

The sacrament is to be celebrated with the oil of the sick blessed by the bishop at the Chrism Mass or, in cases of necessity, with oil blessed by the priest during the celebration of the sacrament. (Intro. 21-22)

Procedure:

The matter proper for the sacrament is olive oil, or according to circumstances other plant oil. (Intro to the Rite of Anointing and Pastoral Care of the Sick, #20)

501.2 Integral Aspects of the Celebration:

Even in cases of urgency, the minister should make clear the three distinct and integral aspects to the celebration of this sacrament: the prayer of faith, the laying on of hands, and the anointing with oil. (Intro. 104-107)

Procedure:

A) The Prayer of faith: it is the community, represented by the priest, family, and all present, who makes a prayer of faith. If possible, the sick person should join in the prayer.

B) The laying on of hands has several meanings: it signifies that the sick person is the object of Christ’s prayer of faith, it is a sign of blessing, and it is also an invocation for the coming of the Holy Spirit.

501.3 Communal Celebration of the Sacrament:

Parishes and health care institutions are encouraged to offer a communal celebra­tion of the sacrament of the anointing of the sick at appropriate times during the year. The communal anointing of the sick can be celebrated for large numbers of sick people who have been suitably prepared and are properly disposed, according to the guidelines given in the Introduction to the Ritual of the Anointing of the Sick (hereafter Intro 108-110) and the prescripts of the Archbishop. (c. 1002, Intro 108-110)

Procedure:

A) Communal celebrations of Anointing held in church are a good witness to the whole community. These liturgical celebrations also offer an opportunity for the sick to experience support from the parish at large, in addition to their caregivers. They should be scheduled well in advance and include special attention to hospitality. Your parish may also want to offer transportation for those who need it.

B) Certain days in the liturgical calendar commend themselves as occasions to further the healing ministry of the Church. The World Day of Prayer for the Sick, February 11 (optional memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes), the patronal feast of the parish or diocese, or saints known to have healed the sick (for example, Saint Peregrine, patron saint of cancer patients), may be good occasions to celebrate the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick during Mass.

C) When the communal celebration of the Anointing of the Sick takes place within Mass, it is important that the priest ensures that the Sacrament of Penance is available before Mass, for those to be anointed, who also wish to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

D) Additionally, when the communal celebration takes place during Mass, it is essential to offer a brief catechesis concerning the Sacrament of the Anointing, which includes an explanation of who receives the Sacrament.

501.4 Opportunities for Catechesis:

Opportunities for catechesis, private and communal, need to be available in order to form the faithful, so that when the time comes, they can receive the sacrament of anointing with right disposition and devotion. (Pastoral Care for the Sick no. 13)

Procedure:

The catechesis should include: the mystery of suffering, union of the suffering with the suffering of Christ, the celebration, minister, recipient, and effects of the sacrament.

(CCC 1514-1525


502 MINISTER OF THE SACRAMENT


Policy:

The priest is the only proper minister of the anointing of the sick. This office is ordinarily exercised by bishops, pastors, associate pastors, priest chaplains of health-care facilities, and superiors of clerical religious institutes. These ministers have the pastoral responsibility both of preparing and helping the sick and others who are present, with the assistance of reli­gious and laity, and of celebrating the sacrament. (Intro 16, 17)

Procedure:

Only priests (Bishops and presbyters) are ministers of the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. Neither deacons nor laypeople can exercise this ministry. In this sacrament, it is Jesus Christ who works; the priest is the living and visible instrument. He both represents Christ and makes Christ present in a special way, so that this sacrament has a particular dignity and efficacy.[1]

[1] http://www.usccb.org/deacon/cdfsacrament.shtml


503 RECIPIENT OF THE SACRAMENT


503.1 Who May Receive the Sacrament:

As soon as anyone of the faithful begins to be in danger of death from sickness or old age it is fitting time to receive this sacrament. (CCC. 1514)

503.2 Receiving the Sacrament Multiple Times:

A sick person who has received this anointing but recovered can in the case of another grave illness receive this sacrament again. If during the same illness the person’s condition becomes more serious, the sacrament may be repeated. It is fitting to receive the Anointing of the Sick just prior to a serious operation. The same holds for the elderly whose frailty becomes more pronounced. (CCC.1515)

503.3 When to Administer the Sacrament:

This sacrament is to be administered in a case of doubt whether the sick person has the use of reason, is dangerously ill, or is dead. (see c. 1005, Intro 53 [mental illness])

503.4 Persons with Disabilities:

Since disability does not necessarily indicate an illness, Catholics with disabilities should receive the sacrament of anointing on the same basis and under the same circumstances as any other member of the Christian faithful. Persons with disabilities may at times be served best through inclusion in communal celebration of the sacrament of anointing.


504 VIATICUM FOR THE DYING


504.1 Minister of the Viaticum:

The ordinary minister of viaticum is the priest. In case of necessity a deacon or any member of the faithful who has been duly appointed may administer viaticum. (Pastoral Care for the Sick no. 29)

Procedure:

A deacon or other ministers follow the Rite provided for “Viaticum outside of Mass”. (Pastoral Care for the Sick, nos. 197-211)

504.2 Receiving the Viaticum:

When possible, the viaticum should be received within Mass, when the dying person is able to participate and respond. Since the celebration of the viaticum general takes place under circumstances which limit the celebration of Mass, a simplified Rite for Mass may be appropriate. (Pastoral Care for the Sick nos. 177-178, 189-196)


505 PASTORAL CARE OF THE SICK IN THE ABSENCE OF A PRIEST


505.1 Responsibility to the Sick:

The pastoral care of the sick and aged is the responsibility the entire faith community. Remembering the sick in prayer, by celebrating the sacraments with the sick, and in visiting the infirm, the entire faithful share in the pastoral care of the sick. (Pastoral Care for the Sick, no. 43)

505.2 Visits to the Sick:

The faithful who visit the sick help them to pray, sharing with them God’s word proclaimed in the assembly from which their sickness has separated them. (Pastoral Care for the Sick, nos. 46, 54-70)

505.3 Communion to the Sick:

To provide frequent communion to the faithful who are ill and deprived of their rightful place in the Eucharistic community, it is important to remember that receiving Holy Communion is an important element of visiting the sick. Extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion who visit the sick should receive additional formation, and mentoring, in addition to that necessary to serve in the parish community. (Pastoral Care for the Sick, nos. 51, 71-96)

RESOURCES

1.Catechism of the Catholic Church

Part Two, Section Two, Chapter Two, Article 5: The Anointing Of The Sick

http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_INDEX.HTM

Code of Canon Law

Book IV, Part I, Title V: The Sacrament Of The Anointing Of The Sick (Canons 998 – 1007)

http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/_INDEX.HTM

Pastoral Care of the Sick:
Rites of Anointing and Viaticum
Documents of The Second Vatican Council
Sacrosanctum Concilium (especially #73-75)

http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19631204_sacrosanctum-concilium_en.html

Lumen Gentium (especially #11)

http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19641121_lumen-gentium_en.html

Gaudium et Spes

http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19651207_gaudium-et-spes_en.html

Other Pertinent Documents

Instruction on Prayers for Healing – Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20001123_istruzione_en.html

Guidelines for Celebration of the Sacraments with Persons with Disabilities

http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/how-we-teach/catechesis/upload/guidelines-for-sacraments-disabilities.pdf