three similar but very distinct rites, the ordained are set aside for ministry by the laying on of hands. Deacons are given the book of the Gospels as a sign of their role to proclaim the good news both at the Eucharist, where they proclaim the Gospel reading, and through charitable services to the larger community. In this latter role, they are united with the local bishop in his care for the diocese.
Signs and Symbols
Priests and bishops are anointed with sacred chrism and are also handed the implements of their office. Priests are handed a chalice and paten as symbols of their task to offer the gifts of the people of God. Bishops are given the book of the Gospels as a symbol of their mission to proclaim the word of God, a ring as a sign of their fidelity to the Church, the bride of Christ, and a miter (headdress) and crosier (staff) as a sign of their role as shepherds. In each case, the prayer prayed over the candidates by the ordaining bishop clearly distinguishes the roles of each office and delineates the ministries assigned to each. Signs and symbols, gestures and words that bring about the ordination of leaders for the Church.
Since Holy Orders is a sacrament, Jesus has promised to be active in the lives of the ordained. Like marriage, in which Jesus is present throughout the life of the couple to strengthen and assist the man and woman as husband and wife and as parents, Jesus is with the ordained to assist and guide them in their ministries. The roles of both marriage and family and of Church leadership are important and essential to the full operation of society and the Church. God, as it were, is saying that he wants to be there too assist. So, again like marriage, the Sacrament of Holy Orders is a sacrament of vocation.
Becoming a Catholic
How do I learn about Catholicism?
How do I become Catholic?
I was baptized a Catholic but never received one or more of the sacraments; how can I now receive the sacraments?
All of these questions can be answered by attending a program called The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA). This program correlates roughly with the academic school year starting after Labor Day and finishing by the end of May.
The program is divided into four distinct periods: Evangelization and Precatechumenate, Catechumenate, Period of Purification and Enlightenment, and Mystagogy.
- The Precatechumenate Period is also known as the Period of Inquiry. During this period, teaching is given to people who are interested in learning more about the Catholic Faith. The sessions cover basic information about the Faith and fundamentally communicate the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The church is offering here an invitation to initial conversion. There is no obligation involved in attending these meetings—they are intended to help a person decide whether they want to continue learning about the Faith. Attendees at this stage are known as Inquirers.
- Inquirers who wish to continue move onto the next stage known as the period of The Order of Catechumens (Candidates for baptized persons wishing to join the Catholic Church). A catechumen or candidate then receives formal education intended to culminate in baptism and inclusion into the church. This period is initiated generally on the first Sunday of Advent by a public acceptance at a Sunday Mass witnessed by the parish worshiping congregation. It is at this time that the new catechumen or candidate selects a sponsor– a practicing Catholic who will journey with them through the process, providing a compelling witness in matters of faith. The Catechumenate is an extended period during which these men and women are given suitable pastoral formation and guidance, aimed at training them in the Christian life.
- Following a public ceremony at Mass called the Rite of Election and Enrollment at the beginning of the Lenten season, the catechumens and candidates enter into the Period of Purification and Enlightenment. This time is intended to be a period of increased introspection and of coming closer to God. The aim of this period is to eliminate what is weak and sinful, and affirm what is holy. This period culminates with the catechumens and candidates receiving the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Eucharist) at the Easter Vigil as they are received into full communion with the Church.
- The fourth stage of R.C.I.A. is called “Mystagogy,” from the Greek words meaning “to lead through the mysteries.” Traditionally mystagogy extends throughout the Easter season, until the feast of Pentecost. This is a period of accompaniment for new Catholics as they discover what it means to fully participate in the sacramental mysteries of the Church. The newly baptized are called “neophytes,” from the Greek words meaning “new plant,” because the faith has been newly planted in them. Even though their catechetical preparation has been completed, they still have much to learn about what it means to live as Catholic Christians. This period should be viewed as the “beginning of the rest of their lives as Catholic Christians” forever learning, loving, and serving God.
Register with Catechist for enrollment and instructions
For more information, visit the catechist office No. 4
Contact Catechist Muyata Peter on 0750574702