Friday, March 20, 2015

A Step Backward for Sure

Just read something in the Boston Pilot, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Boston. It was the headline that caught my attention:

"St. Columbkille throws 'out the net;' Baptizes 20 students"

Here's the article.

And here's one section:

"The two efforts in the context of the new evangelization intersected during enrollment, when the parish contacted the school to find out if any students wanted or needed the sacrament of baptism.

Having worked in partnership with the Archdiocese of Boston and Boston College since 2006, the school drew on the longstanding partnership with the parish to encourage the baptisms."

The article makes no mention of the celebration of the sacraments of Confirmation and First Communion.

So, apparently no catechumenate, no rites of acceptance into the order of catechumens, sending for election, nor scrutinies. No parish support or apprenticeship of these young people during an extended catechumenate.

The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, in its section on the initiation of children who have reached catechetical age (usually around the age of seven), is clear in two paragraphs:

305. At this third step of their Christian initiation, the children will receive the sacrament of baptism, the bishop or priest who baptizes them will also confer confirmation, and the children will for the first time participate in the liturgy of the eucharist.

U.S. National Statutes 14. In order to signify clearly the interrelation or coalescence of the three sacraments which are required for full Christian initiation (canon 842:2), adult candidates, including children of catechetical age, are to receive baptism, confirmation, and eucharist in a single eucharistic celebration, whether at the Easter Vigil or, if necessary, at some other time.

I have been trying to form parish and diocesan ministers of Christian initiation for nearly thirty years in the vision and practice of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. This journey has been a long one, filled with lots of joy, but many disappointments as well. I am sure this article was widely read and was read with great joy by so many; after all, who wouldn't be delighted that 20 students were baptized? And I can certainly understand that joy and enthusiasm. But how does a parish simply ignore the rites of the Roman Catholic Church and the Code of Canon Law? Parents in hundred of parishes whose children of catechetical age were enrolled in the catechumenate should have every right to be totally confused by the practice at this parish.

This is so disappointing. I just hope that whoever wrote the article somehow missed the fact that perhaps these children were confirmed and received their First Holy Communion. But, sadly, the article says that the baptisms and one profession of faith took place "at a prayer service."

This is a step backward in the implementation of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.

After reading stuff like this, I feel like just giving up. More was thrown out here than just "the net" by this parish.

Boston friends, please feel free to chime in here. If I have misunderstood what occurred, please correct me.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.


Anonymous said...

Well, I imagine their "partnership" with the Jesuits of Boston College explains some of this.

Rev. Gene Vavrick said...

Jerry, I'm so sorry that this has obviously upset you. You're so right in pointing out all of the terrible abuses of RCIA that this incident illustrates.

I'm particularly interested in finding out how the "new evangelization" seems to have the muscle to overpower the Rites of the Church, so individual pastors can just ignore RCIA, the National Statutes, etc.

And the fact that the "Pilot" published this trash is even more amazing! We really should write to the "Pilot" with copies to Cardinal Sean.

Obviously we all need to keep singing, keep praying.