Uncatechized Candidates

An uncatechized Christian or Catholic candidate is one who has had little or no experience with the faith community of their baptism. This candidate is:

  • not very vested in the traditions of that community,
  • does not have the habit of Sunday worship,
  • may or may not have the habit of bible reading,
  • may or may not be familiar with other members of that community of origin,
  • may or may not be involved community outreach
  • may or may not be a person who prays

But this candidate is baptized and the catechumenate team must honor that baptism. All of the baptized have been incorporated into Christ and constitute the Christian faithful.1 This incorporation into Christ establishes a spiritual relationship between God and the person. Even if the person is not faithful to that relationship we know that God is always faithful.

The formation of these candidates centers on the effects of the baptism they have received. In the course of their formation the catechumenate team needs to help these candidates:

  • remember and come to an appreciation of their baptism and its effects especially God's faithfulness
  • uncover and come to appreciate the presence and action of God in the events of their lives both past and present
  • become aware of how God has already been helping them to witness to his presence and love of humankind

The formation of these uncatechized candidates may be concurrent with the formation of catechumens provided that opportunities are provided for them to reflect on what they are learning in light of their baptism. These candidates do not participate in all of the rites that are designed for catechumens. The rituals that are proper to them are:

  • Rite of Welcoming the Candidates
  • Celebrations of the Word of God...Sunday
  • Presentation of the Creed (only if they have no Christian instruction)
  • Presentation of the Lord's Prayer (only if they have never prayed this prayer)
  • Presentation of the Book of Gospels (only if they have no knowledge or experience with the Scriptures)
  • Rite of Calling the Candidates to Continuing Conversion (either at the Archdiocesan combined rite at the Cathedral or at the parish )
  • Reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation

These candidates also, are expected to receive the sacrament of reconciliation at a time prior to and distinct from the rite of reception.2 The purpose of this sacrament is to help the candidate "admit aloud sorrow for one's sins and to hear the church's minister extend the mercy of Christ. It can be a moment of powerful healing for those who have made this spiritual journey deeply - not just as a shift from one faith community to another but as a recommitment to Jesus Christ and his church."


1 Canon 204
2 National Statutes, 36