It is a process of Initiation into the Community that includes thorough study of Sacred Scripture and Church doctrine, spiritual reflection, private and liturgical prayer, as well as community involvement.
It is a loving immersion into the Mystery of the Church in which Christ is truly active and present and facilitates the conversion of the heart to God in Christ Jesus.
In a reaction against mass numbers of baptisms in “mission lands,” where little to no preparation took place, religious orders (such as the Dominicans and Augustinians) urged a return to the catechumenate process.
Period of Inquiry: This is the initial inquiry into learning about the Catholic faith. The sessions are characterized by informal and often spontaneous discussions of various points of interest and concern to the inquirer. No obligations are required.
Period of Catechumenate: This begins with the Rite of Acceptance , and is a period of intense study of Sacred Scripture and the doctrines of the Catholic Church. Regular attendance at sessions, and discussions during the Sunday Mass, are needed for the Candidate to fully engage the process.
Period of Purification & Enlightenment: This takes place during the season of Lent, which intensifies spiritual reflection and personal discernment. It also serves as final preparation for reception of the Sacraments of Initiation.
Period of Mystagogia: The year-long period immediately following the reception of the Sacraments, in which the newly initiated person continues to reflect on the experience of initiation into the Mystery of the Church, and begins to live out his or her new Catholic Faith.
How does this happen?
Periods and Rites Inquiry Catechumenate Purification & Enlightenment Mystagogy Rite of Acceptance Rite of Welcome Rite of Election Scrutinies Easter Sacraments of Initiation