Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
In these summer months, your parish might be preparing to celebrate the Rite of Acceptance into the Order of Catechumens. This rite ritualizes an unbaptized seeker’s intention to follow Christ and the church’s acceptance of them into an official order of the church.
In some communities, this rite’s elements are sometimes misunderstood. One element that often goes awry is the crossing over the threshold of the church by the inquirer, which symbolizes their movement from outside the household of God to inside where they are given a rightful place within it. It also ritualizes the church’s work of evangelization. The rite expresses this by having a group of the faithful gather outside the church with the seeker in order to bring them in.As dramatic as the sound may be of a knock at the church doors, it wrongly reflects the purpose of the Rite of Acceptance. Worse yet, it turns evangelization into waiting for people to come to us rather than following Christ’s command. Click To Tweet
However, some parishes ask the seekers to knock on the church doors in imitation of today’s Gospel reading. Nowhere in the Rite of Acceptance is this an option, and yet, some communities persist in this practice. As dramatic as the sound may be of a knock at the church doors, it wrongly reflects the purpose of this rite. Worse yet, it turns evangelization into waiting for people to come to us rather than following Christ’s command to go and make disciples.
Be sure the way you celebrate the rites of the church clearly reflects their true meaning.
This post was first published in “GIA Quarterly: A Liturgical Music Journal.”
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