Scrutinies?

Hi All,

I never quite know if I am posting in the appropriate place.

I am in RCIA and unfortunately from the beginining I knew there may be several instances where I had to miss certain events in the program. The Deacon is understanding and the group knows the challenges I have.

I have had to miss the last 2 weeks of Mass, which had the first 2 Scrutinies…I guess I am curious what that is like? I have heard an explanation, but I am just worried I am missing something. :frowning:

I do have to say a couple weeks ago, at the last RCIA class I made it to (I was sick last week) the deacon asked if the group could pray for me? What I didn’t realize is they were going to do a very formal prayer: the deacon anointed my hands with oil, then everyone in the room stood with a hand on my shoulder as they prayed for me. They took turns offering prayers. It was very moving and I was honored they decided to do a special prayer for me. In some ways I feel like this was a person scrutiny all my own.

But I still feel sad that i have missed the first 2 official scrutinies. I have been really struggling, not in belief, but in the fact that one thing after another seems to be going wrong. My husband is struggling with my decision, and I still worry things will fall apart. We talk very little about it (he is mormon, as I have been for 12 years). We have a 5 year old, who I very much avoid taking her to any events, talking to her about any of this in any way. My husband reads Book of Mormon to her every night, we pray together, though I still pray in what i consider a very mormon form. I am trying to respect that for now. Besides the home struggles, I feel quite alone in terms of friends. A very small few know now. I have acceptance from these people…the non-Catholics. Of course, the Catholics are very supportive. So it is nice that I am starting to be able to talk to people about this. But even still, I feel really alone in it. Most of my friends don’t understand the full impact on this process with me.

I also have had to miss masses, mostly out of the fact that my husband takes our car to church with our daughter, and often I don’t want to call others for a ride, or else the times we are asked to attend mass, I cannot make because there is something going on at home (like Saturday evening masses are difficult for me). Between sometimes having to miss RCIA classes because husband doesn’t get home from work in time (again, I have a daugher I can’t bring along), and between rarely being able to make the scripture relfection masses, I find it really hard to hold on strongly to my faith. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not doubting, but it is so easy to get carried away with depression when I feel so completely isolated from my new faith (apart from prayer), and not feeling like I can really talk about it to people around me that are close.

On top of those things, I have been sick for about 3 weeks now, which is driving me crazy…and I have been pulled over twice for really dumb things…I seem to be having a stream of bad luck, and I keep feeling like having missed the scrutinies, that could of really helped me stay strong despite what seems to be bad luck surrounding me.

Anyway, can someone tell me a little more about the scrutinies? I am curious. Thanks! :slight_smile:

the anointings are optional rites intended for healing and strengthening the catechumens and are especially appropriate for situations like your own.

It is very unfortunate you had to miss the scrutinies because their specific purpose is to strengthen and support you against the very challenges you are experiencing. Make sure when you return you receive the presentations that go along with the scrutinies, the Creed and the Our Father.

The scrutinies should not be optional except for the most serious reasons. I am obliged to get the pastor’s permission for adult catechumens to proceed to Easter if they have missed the scrutinies. He interviews them himself and makes that decision. Try not to miss the 3rd scrutiny this Sunday unless you are actually hospitalized (sadly happened with one of ours last week, but she hopes to be ready for Easter. The deacon will be visiting her).

The scrutinies are prayers, blessings and intercessions for the catechumens offered by the priest, the sponsors, and the whole assembly. They rely for some of their content on the gospels chosen for those Sundays–the Samaritan Woman, the Healing of the man born blind, and the raising of Lazarus, all in John’s gospel–each of which reflects an aspect of their conversion journey. The priest also prays silently for each of the Elect. These prayers are rites, which means like sacraments, they are efficacious, they accomplish what the words say. The Elect actually are aided, strengthened, protected and led to stronger deeper conversion. Sometimes also the optional rites called minor exorcisms are said. These prayers specifically ask for protection against evil, sin and temptation and should always be used when there are particular difficulties that make them appropriate.

The presentations of the Creed and Our Father follow the 1st and 3rd scrutiny, and are the premier prayers of the Elect, they will be “given back” by them on Holy Saturday as you recite them and embrace them.

Welcome home, you can do this, allow nothing to separate you from the love of our Lord Jesus Christ.

ask the deacon and other class members, especially your sponsor, if they can help you with transportation

I head the RCIA team in my parish. When we start Lent I warn my candidates and catechumens that Satan is going to step up his battle against them, to keep them from coming into the Church. The form this takes most often is illness, but other challenges can (and do) occur. From your description it sounds like you are experiencing such a battle. You can take it as a “compliment” that he is working so hard to keep you from the Church! You must be going to do good work!

There is a group on this site for those converting from the Mormon faith. Maybe if you join that group you can get some suggestions and support?

The Scrutinies are useful but not mandatory. They are meant to help candidates and catechumens consider their lives and their RCIA journey. I would not obsess over missing them, since it was not done carelessly.

If I might be so bold I would at the very least have a talk with your husband about the fact you are entitled to worship God in your own way. You have a RIGHT to get together with your faith community and worship. He needs to respect that right and make arrangements to take your daughter and see that you get to Mass. I would contact your Parish and see if they have a “ride to Mass” program, or find someone who will take you on a regular basis. You could start in your RCIA group, but branch out if that does not prove fruitful. Once you are Catholic (less than 2 weeks!) Sunday Mass is vital and you need to make a serious effort to attend.

I’ll have my group say a prayer for you tonight.

Peace and God’s mercy be upon you.

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