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Old Aug 9, '11, 9:47 am
KarenElissa's Avatar
KarenElissa KarenElissa is offline
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Default How to explain "rite" for RCIA?

I am writing a basic intro letter for my RCIA kids/teens class and need some help.

Does anyone have a good way of explaining "rite" in the context of RCIA. I'm not talking about the individual rites, but just the general term. I've used ceremony in mass, but that isn't quite right, does anyone have anything better? Thanks!
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Old Aug 9, '11, 10:06 am
puzzleannie puzzleannie is offline
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Default Re: How to explain "rite" for RCIA?

A rite is any ceremony with special words and actions which are always done the same way, at a specific time, for a specific purpose. Ritual (enacting rites) seems to be an important part of human nature, as all societies have rites to mark important events and situations in the life of the culture, or lives of individuals.

A "rite of passage" is a ceremony conducted by a culture at the time its young people reach the age of adulthood and helps them become ready to assume adult responsibilities and rights in the society.

An "initiation rite" is any ceremony through which an individual is brought into belonging in a group. For instance, when joining a scout troop the new candidate prepares for joining by studying the rules of the organization, makes a promise or pledge, is welcomed by the leaders and other members, and is given a book, badge, hat, uniform or some other emblem to show he belongs.

Liturgy, or "liturgical rites" are ceremonies that are part of worship offered by the Church to God. All the sacraments are "rites." The Mass is a "rite." In fact, the Mass contains several "rites" such as the "Pentitential Rite" at the beginning when we ask forgiveness of God and each other, and the "Communion Rite," when we go to receive Jesus in the Eucharist. Other religions have their own rites, but the Catholic Church uses rites that were first given to the Apostles by Jesus Christ himself. Even though the way they are carried out may have changed in some ways over the years, the basic meaning, words and actions remain. (reference gospel accounts of the Last Supper, or the words of baptism, for instance).

The Rites of Christian Initiation are all of these things. They are ceremonies for a specific purpose, they mark stages in the journey and are done at certain times for certain reasons, they are part of liturgy, or public worship of the Church, and they are part of the process through which non-Catholics become members of the Catholic Church.
Whatever the Lord pleases He does, on heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps. Ps. 135
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Old Aug 9, '11, 12:23 pm
PJM PJM is offline
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Default Re: How to explain "rite" for RCIA?

=KarenElissa;8224292]I am writing a basic intro letter for my RCIA kids/teens class and need some help.

Does anyone have a good way of explaining "rite" in the context of RCIA. I'm not talking about the individual rites, but just the general term. I've used ceremony in mass, but that isn't quite right, does anyone have anything better? Thanks!
A "rite" is a CEREMONY based on Old Trestement practice. They had "rites" for circuncission [now baptism], for becomming an adult; Barmitzva; now Conirmation, for forgiveness of sins. Lev. 16:21 “and Aaron [the High priest appointed by God] shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the people of Israel, and all their transgressions, all their sins; and he shall put them upon the head of the goat, and send him away into the wilderness by the hand of a man who is in readiness. “ Now Confession, the sacrament of reconcillation, and for ritual sacrifice, Now our Mass.

So through cermonies one is brough Closer to God is a manner that signifies the IMPORTANCE of the event and the commitment.

Karen hope this is of help to you,

God Bless and THANKS for your Ministy!
Irish2: PJM

A.B. Fulton Sheen: "The truth is the truth even if nobody believes it, and a lie is still a lie, even if everybody believes it."
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Old Aug 10, '11, 5:05 pm
dhgray dhgray is offline
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Default Re: How to explain "rite" for RCIA?

Rite = Catholic Ceremony
Wrong = everyone else

God Bless,

RCIA Class 98
Couples For Christ - USA
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Old Aug 10, '11, 7:06 pm
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KarenElissa KarenElissa is offline
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Default Re: How to explain "rite" for RCIA?

Thanks guys! I guess ceremony is the closest without a longer explanation. Here is my whole intro to RCIA if anyone is interested. Please feel free to comment!

RCIA stands for the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. It is the process by which adults are gradually initiated into the life and sacraments of the Catholic Church. It is comprised of various steps along the way and each transition is marked by a rite, or a special ceremony within the public liturgy. Underlying these are the classes where the individual learns the basics of the Catholic faith.

For the purposes of baptism, one is either an infant or adult. Infants are babies and children under the age of 7. They are baptized on the faith of their parents. Adults are anyone over the age of approximately 7 years old. Children of this age know right from wrong and are old enough to have a say in the decision to be baptized. They are baptized based on their own profession of faith. While we have separate classes for children, many of the Rites and the Easter Vigil itself are in conjunction with the adults.

The Steps

The first step in the RCIA process is the inquiry period. It is a period of introductions and questioning. The individual is introduced to the community and begins to learn and experience the basics of faith.

Rite of Acceptance marks the first transition. In this rite, the individual makes known their desire to be prepared for baptism. Their parents, godparents, and the whole parish family promise to support them on this journey. After this point, the individual is known as a catechumen, a Greek word for the “instructed”.

The catechumenate is the “meat” of the RCIA process. It is marked by a greater learning of the Catholic faith as well as a deepening of the individuals own lived faith.
During this period, the catechumen attends the first part of Mass, the Liturgy of the Word, then, after the homily is dismissed to “reflect more deeply upon the word of God”.

Rites of Sending and Election are the transition to the next period. The Rite of Sending takes place in our local parish. The catechumen signs their name in the Book of the Elect and the parish expresses their support and sends the catechumens to the Rite of Election with the bishop. In the Rite of Election the bishop formally calls the catechumens to the Easter Sacraments. The individual is now a member of the elect.

The Period of Purification and Enlightenment coincides with Lent and is the final period of preparation before the Easter Vigil. It is a period of reflection and coming closer to God.

The Scrutinies take place on the third, fourth, and fifth Sundays of Lent. They help to purify the hearts of the elect and strengthen their spirits in the last few weeks before the Easter Vigil.

The Easter Vigil is the highlight of the whole church year. It is the first celebration of the Resurrection. The whole church celebrates with the new members as they receive the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and First Communion. The individual is now a neophyte, meaning “newly planted”.

The last period is called mystagogy, meaning mystery. It allows the new Catholic to sort through all of their new experiences and to grow in their new found faith.

Because the sacrament of baptism wipes away all sins, confession is not necessary before the Easter Vigil. Therefore, we prepare for and celebrate First Reconciliation during the period of mystagogy.

Growing in the Catholic faith is something that never ends. The RCIA process is the beginning of the journey, not the end. We are all called to participate in the life of the church, through attending Mass each week, participating in the sacraments, helping the poor, and learning more about our faith.
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