For those who will celebrate the Sacraments of Christian Initiation at this year’s Easter Vigil, Lent begins the third period of the RCIA process known as Purification and Enlightenment. This is an intense, 40-day period of self searching and repentance in which the Catholic Church supports its catechumens (the unbaptized) and its baptized candidates with special prayers of healing and strengthening and with rites affirming God’s choice and love for each of them.
First Sunday of Lent – 5 PM Saturday Mass
The Rite of the Call to Continuing Conversion: This rite is celebrated with our baptized candidates who wish to complete their Christian initiation through the sacraments of confirmation and Eucharist. Their sponsors will give testimony regarding the readiness of the candidates to become full members of the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil. This rite celebrates God’s call of these candidates to continue their conversion through Lent in preparation for their reception into the full Communion of the Catholic Church.
First Sunday of Lent – 12:00 PM Mass
The Rite of Election: Usually, this rite is celebrated in Cleveland at St. John’s Cathedral by our bishop. However, due to the pandemic, each parish in the Diocese of Cleveland will celebrate the Rite of Election in their home church. On the testimony of their godparents, our community affirms the readiness of our catechumens to celebrate the sacraments of initiation at the Easter Vigil. The catechumens then enroll their names in the Book of the Elect as a pledge of fidelity. The priest, who acts as the bishop’s delegate, declares the catechumens to be members of the elect, awaiting full initiation at Easter. Intercessions are prayed for the elect to conclude the rite.
Second Sunday of Lent – 5PM Saturday Mass
The Penitential Rite: In this rite, our baptized candidates are supported by the Church’s prayers as they prepare to celebrate the sacrament of reconciliation for the first time. During the rite, candidates and the entire assembly will “hear the comforting message of pardon for sin” (RCIA 464).
Third, Fourth and Fifth Sundays of Lent – 5PM Saturday Masses
The Scrutinies: The scrutinies are rites that help the catechumens examine their consciences in preparation for baptism.The Church uses its ancient prayers of healing to strengthen the catechumens against the powers of sin and evil. The readings used for the scrutinies present the Easter baptismal symbols of water, light and new life as remedies for the human struggle against sin, darkness and death. There are also two presentations, one of the Creed and one of the Lord’s Prayer. Considered foundational, these two ancient texts express the “heart of the Church’s faith and prayer” (RCIA 147). These presentations will be celebrated along with the scrutinies.
The Creed will be presented to our catechumens at the first scrutiny and the Lord’s Prayer will be presented at the third scrutiny.
Please support our catechumens, godparents, candidates, sponsors, families and all catechumens and candidates in the RCIA process throughout our diocese with your prayers and example throughout this Holy season of Lent. And may we all experience Lenten conversion and Easter renewal!