In many of our parishes baptized Catholics are presenting themselves for reception of the sacrament of Confirmation. Some are preparing to be married and need to be confirmed before they are married. They are not proper candidates for the RCIA process.
Catechized Catholic candidates are those:
- who have been baptized Catholic
- have received some religious formation at home, in school, or in a religious education process leading to their reception of First Eucharist
- have been participating in Sunday liturgy and receiving Eucharist
It is proper for the parish to prepare these adults for confirmation and then send them to the Cathedral for confirmation. There are two days in the course of the year when adult confirmation is celebrated at the Cathedral: Pentecost and the Feast of Christ the King.1
It is important to keep the emphasis of the preparation of these catholic candidates for Confirmation on the center of the initiation process, the Eucharist. Those who prepare these candidates need to use this time of preparation in such a way that these candidates spend time examining what their response to their baptismal vows has been and come to a deeper understanding and appreciation of the Eucharist. For them, too, reconciliation becomes an important part of their preparation process. They should be provided with opportunities to approach the sacrament of Reconciliation before reception of Confirmation. For many this confession provides them with an opportunity to review their whole life to date.
Sometimes these candidates are included in the catechumenal process. Caution is advised when this occurs.
None of the rites for catechumens is proper for these Catholic candidates.
They do not join the catechumens during the dismissal session on Sundays; their proper place is with the assembly at the liturgy of the Eucharist.
Sometimes their presence at the catechetical session, particularly where these sessions incorporate reflection and discussion rather than just lecture, can be overwhelming to catechumens.
Also, the church expects catechumens to be spend at least a full year in the catechumenate as they apprentice into the faith and life of the Catholic Church2; Catholic candidates for Confirmation probably need a shorter period of time to prepare for Confirmation.
Catechumens are receiving initiatory catechesis which is a basic and essential formation, centered on what constitutes the nucleus of Christian experience, the most fundamental certainties of the faith and the most essential evangelical values.3
Catholic candidates are receiving ongoing catechesis which builds on the formation they have already received. Ongoing catechesis fosters the growth of a more mature faith.
1 Handbook for the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, Archdiocese of Detroit, chapter 1, #4, p. 3.
2 National Statutes for the Catechumenate, #6.
3 General Directory for Catechesis, #67