Question about RCIA attendance


This doesn’t happen in every parish. It depends upon when the classes are taking place and who is teaching them.


Some parishes do it this way, but not all. My parish does not.


It’s the first time I ever heard of it. I hope it’s not the way most parishes do it. It’s obviously a gross mistake to hustle people out of the church halfway through Mass, just because they’re not (yet) Catholics.


It’s not a mistake. The Rites provide for the dismissal of the catechumen after the Liturgy of the Word and before the Liturgy of the Eucharist. I’m not personally a fan of that approach either as I’m more of the mind that people should experience the whole Mass while they are looking into becoming Catholic. But it is allowed, and many parishes do it that way.


This was the practice at your parish.

On the other hand, I have never lived in nor worked at a parish that used this practice.

It can vary from parish to parish.


I am deeply grateful to the priest who handled my conversion, twenty years ago, for resisting the temptation, Sunday after Sunday, to have me thrown out of the church halfway through Mass, even though – from what you’re saying here – he could have justified that appalling rudeness by pointing out that the Rites gave him that option.


It’s hardly rudeness to send you off with a blessing to reflect on and be nurtured by the Word you have received.


Agreed. When my wife and I went through it, our parish didn’t practice “dismissal.” I can see advantages to both. The extra catechesis and reflection time would have been wonderful, but conversely, being in the church, and watching everyone else receive Jesus in the Eucharist, created an intense longing in our hearts for the same.


The Mass is open to the public. For several years I had accompanied my wife to Mass from time to time – she is a cradle Catholic – and in all that time no one ever told me I wasn’t supposed to be there. What do you think my reaction would be when one day I’m told I’m no longer welcome there?


I understand how you feel. That’s why I’m not particularly a fan of that approach. But it hearkens back to the old days when catechumen would not be allowed to be present for the Liturgy of the Eucharist. Since they cannot receive the Eucharist anyway, they receive further instruction instead. Indeed, at some parishes, this is when their RCIA instruction takes place.


Catholics who are not receiving the Eucharist are still mandated to be in attendance for the whole Mass, so I don’t see that as the reason


In a parish where they follow that rule, what do they do in the case of non-Catholics who are not catechumens? For instance, to cite my own case prior to my conversion, a non-Catholic husband who is accompanying his Catholic wife? Would he, too, be thrown out politely asked to leave after the homily?


No, they would be allowed to stay. The catechumens aren’t “thrown out” to fend for themselves or just leave. They are “dismissed” WITH a deacon or other suitable catechist for reflection on the scripture of the day and other instruction. “Thrown out” is a misrepresentation of what is happening.


Either you’re allowed to stay or you’re not allowed to stay. Whether you call that being “dismissed” or being “thrown out” makes no material difference.


The reasons matter. We disagree. No worries.


I thought that I read on here that used to be a thing, but at some point it changed.

If true, I wouldn’t be surprised if my wife’s parish tossed around the idea of bringing it back…:rofl::thinking:


No one ever told you that you’re not supposed to be there because that’s not true. Visitors are always welcome.

However, a catechumen is not a visitor. A catechumen is part of the Church and preparing for baptism. Part of that preparation means following the various rites and instructions in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. See, for example, RCIA 75.3:


That would be unfortunate! The dismissal is time to go off to reflect further on the word – it’s still a part of the Mass. In addition, candidates are not necessarily dismissed from Mass (this really seems to depend on how the particular parish interprets RCIA 75) but they still usually receive catechesis at the same time as the catechumens.

Continuing Mass with others at another location is not the same as being sent home. But if one is looking to be offended, I guess any excuse will do.


I’m sorry, but you’ve lost me there. What do you mean by “continuing Mass at another location”? Is Mass being celebrated in two different places at once?


The catechumens and their catechist are dismissed from Mass to go to another location (a meeting room or whatever facilities the particular parish has available) to reflect on and discuss the readings, prayers, homily, and whatever else they’ve experienced during the Liturgy of the Word. They are not dismissed so that they can get coffee and donuts before everyone else or get home early; they are continuing their celebration of the Word.

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