We have a mother who is returning to the Church. Her 11 year old has never been baptized. She is just beginning the RCIA process. Is it necessary for her to be in the Catechumenate for a year? Why?

Yes it is necessary. A child who has reached the age of reason is capable of "...receiving and nurturing a personal faith and of recognizing an obligation in conscience." [RCIA 253] But that requires time and all of the steps that are part of the RCIA. It is necessary that the chilf acquire habits that will serve her for the rest of her life as a fully initiated member of God's family. As a catechumen she will be required:

  • to attend the celebration of the Eucharist every Sunday
  • she will be dismissed after the homily so jthat she will develop the habit of listening to the scripture to hear what God is saying to her
  • gradually during the course of a yea she will hear one full Gospel... what better way to develop a relationship with Christ than to hear, reflect, and respond to his full story
  • she will learn how to serve others by being given opportunities to join with the community in its service projects
  • she will learn who we are, what we believe, how we share our faith
  • she will come to acknowledge her sinfulness and at the same time come to know God's mercy, love and forgiveness... this takes time

Remember, you are preparing her for full initiation, i.e. baptism, confirmation and Eucharist.