The archdiocesan Catechetical Office has recently announced a change to the way in which the Rite of Ca!ing the Candidates to Continuing Conversion will be celebrated during the Lenten season. In previous years, parishes were invited to send their baptized RCIA candidates to one of several locations throughout the archdiocese for the celebration of the Rite of Ca!ing on the Second Sunday of Lent. Beginning this year, this Rite will now be celebrated in local parishes. This change in practice is the result of several months of study by the Catechetical Office, the archdiocesan RCIA Advisory Council, and the Office of Liturgy. In their work, these groups noted the following:
• The RCIA indicates that the Rite of Ca!ing the Candidates to Continuing Conversion is an optional rite.
• While the RCIA does give an option for sending the candidates to the bishop for the Rite of Ca!ing, it appears to envision the case wherein this Rite is combined with the Rite of Election, a practice that is not possible in the Archdiocese of New York due to space limitations within Saint Patrick’s Cathedral.
• Celebrating an archdiocesan-sponsored Rite of Ca!ing on the Second Sunday of Lent:
– does not follow the RCIA’s directive that this Rite should be celebrated at the beginning of Lent (448);
– in many ways mirrors the archdiocesan Rite of Election, which may create confusion between the unique status of baptized candidates and that of candidates for baptism; and,
– was thought to reinforce the custom of receiving candidates for full reception at the Easter Vigil, a practice that is not recommended by the National Statutes for the Catechumenate (33-34).
In light of these observations, the following new directives for the celebration of the Rite of Calling have been approved by Cardinal Dolan:
• The celebration of the Rite of Ca!ing the Candidates to Continuing Conversion is an optional rite that is celebrated for baptized candidates (adults and teenagers [14+]), who have participated in their parish’s catechumenate (RCIA) process and are ready either to receive the Sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist or to be received into the full communion of the Catholic Church (RCIA, 446).
• The parish celebration of the Rite of Ca!ing the Candidates to Continuing Conversion may take place on a convenient day at the beginning of Lent (RCIA, 448).
• This Rite is to be celebrated at the parish church of the candidate.
• This Rite may be celebrated either within a parish Mass or a Liturgy of the Word (RCIA, 457).
• The presiding celebrant for this Rite is the pastor or a parish priest delegated by the pastor (RCIA, 448).
In order to assist parishes in preparing for the celebration of this liturgy, the Catechetical Office and the Office of Liturgy have made an outline and the text of the Rite of Ca!ing available online in both English and Spanish.
Lastly, bearing in mind that candidates for continuing conversion look forward to joining with the Cardinal in prayer at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral on an annual basis, those adults who recently completed their sacraments of initiation or entered into full communion through their parish RCIA process are invited to join neophytes (the newly baptized) for the annual Neophyte Mass at the cathedral on Sunday, May 23, at 2:00pm.
Pastors or RCIA coordinators who have questions regarding the Rite of Ca!ing are encouraged to contact the Catechetical Office or the Office of Liturgy for further information.