In communities where there are adults and children of catechetical age preparing for baptism, the church dismisses them before the Creed when they are present at Mass. This dismissal of catechumens is part of their formation and ritual role. However, some people view it as inhospitable, so they ignore it even though it is part of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.
We can understand this rite better if we saw it as a true dismissal and commissioning. All of us, whether baptized or catechumens, are sent out like the disciples in today’s Gospel because we have work to do.All of us, whether baptized or catechumens, are sent out like the disciples in today’s Gospel because we have work to do. Click To Tweet
Catechumens do that work when they are dismissed by “[sharing] their joy and spiritual experience” (RCIA #67). When the baptized are dismissed, we do that work by “[glorifying] God by our lives.” However our “order” or role in the church gives us the further responsibility of praying the prayers of the faithful: the Creed, the Universal Prayer, and the Eucharistic Prayer.
That is why the baptized are not dismissed until the end of Mass. Once catechumens are baptized and move from the order of catechumens to the order of the faithful, they too will share in that responsibility and will be dismissed at the end of Mass to do their work in the body of Christ.
This post was first published in “GIA Quarterly: A Liturgical Music Journal.”