RCIA or OCIA? Rite vs. Order in the catechumenate


I have a confession to make. I don’t like RCIA. I do love everything about the catechumenate and the ministry of initiating new folks into the mission the gospel. But I do not like how this awesome process of joining people to Christ is reduced to a set of initials.

You might think that’s odd since the name of our ministry, TeamRCIA, contains those very initials. I’ll say more about that in a minute. Before I do, however, I want to talk about an upcoming change in the initials — and maybe the way in which we refer to the important work that we do.

Why is a change on the way?

In a previous post, I wrote about the upcoming retranslation of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. The new translation is likely many years away, but one sure prediction we can make is that the name of the rite will change.

We have seen this previously with the Rite of Funerals and the Rite of Marriage, which became the Order of Christian Funerals and the Order of Celebrating Matrimony. Likewise, the Rite of Confirmation recently became the Order of Confirmation. The Rite of Infant Baptism, which is currently in the translation process, will likely become the Order of Baptism of Children.
When the RCIA is retranslated, it will become the Order of Christian Initiation of Adults.

There are two reasons for this. First, the Latin text from which the English is translated is titled Ordo initiationis christianæ adultorum. This has always been the title of the rite in Latin. When it was translated into English, the word ordo was translated as rite. In the new translation, using the English word order more strictly adheres to the Latin.

But more importantly, the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults is not one, single rite. It is a collection of rites that are used and adapted to fit the various circumstances of each seeker. (This is also true of all the other sacramental orders I listed above.) By referring to this sacramental process as an order, we more clearly say that this isn’t a simple, one-step process that we are engaging in.

To continue reading this article from TeamRCIA click here.

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