Sacred Heart Cathedral celebrates the Rite of Acceptance for inquirers in the new norm

In the pre-pandemic era, the church usually welcomes the inquirers who have gone through a few months of “first contact’ in the RCIA, by celebrating t

Sep 20, 2021

A catechumen accepting the Bible to express the desire to live by the Word of God


By Catherine Wan

In the pre-pandemic era, the church usually welcomes the inquirers who have gone through a few months of “first contact’ in the RCIA, by celebrating the Rite of Acceptance into the Order of Catechumens during a Sunday Mass to allow the congregation to witness and to pray for them.

However, the church is not open to the faithful to participate in physical Mass under the strict lockdown restrictions. Nevertheless, by taking the opportunity of National Day on September 16 as a public holiday, parish priest of Sacred Heart Cathedral, Fr Paul Lo, invited inquirers from RCIA of the various languages to attend the Rite of Acceptance spaced out at different times of the day.

In compliance with the current SOP, the attendees must have completed two doses of vaccinations and the number of attendees should not exceed fifty people.

Through the Rite of Acceptance, the inquirers are officially accepted into the stage of catechumenate to become catechumens. At this stage, they learn catechism and learn to live a life of gradual conversion to Christ for about half a year. Hopefully, by March next year (the first Sunday of Lent), they will be enrolled during the Rite of Election, and actively prepare for the Sacraments of Initiation.

The Rite of Acceptance for the BM group of inquirers was held at 11 am. To comply with SOP, only 20 out of the 46 adult catechumens, accompanied by their sponsors, were allowed to participate in the half-hour physical ceremony. The rest of the catechumens and their sponsors participated in the online ceremony via ZOOM. Besides, there were 20 children catechumens who were not required to participate in the ceremony.

The Rite of Acceptance in English and Chinese were held at 3 pm and 5 pm respectively in the Cathedral by Fr Paul. There were 15 English-speaking catechumens, of which two were from Church of Mary Immaculate. The Chinese-speaking catechumens totalled eight.

The Rite included three parts: welcoming, liturgy of the Word and the dismissal. After inquiring the motive of inquirers in joining the Catholic Church, the presider made the sign of the cross from afar, and they themselves put on the crucifix which was blessed earlier on as a symbol of their belief in Jesus Christ.

Fr Paul in his homily pointed out that the church commemorated the martyrdom of Pope St Cornelius and Bishop St Cyprian on that day. He encouraged the catechumens to emulate the courage of the two saints to face challenges and trials in life. Faith is a gift of God, which needs to be strengthened by the Word of God just as Jesus had overcome Satan’s temptations by the Word of God. The presider stressed that every disciple of Christ has to carry the cross and follow Him. 

After the homily, the presider handed the Bible to a representative of the catechumens as the Bible will help them to know more about Jesus Christ.

The Prayers of the Faithful prayed for the catechumens to be granted faith which helps them to accept the teachings of Christ wholeheartedly and to move forward in their journey of faith.

The presider dismissed the people as the simplified Rites came to an end, which lasted for about 30 minutes, by bestowing blessings and peace, and a promise to  accompany them with prayers in their chosen path of faith.--CS

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