The Adult Catechumenate in Today’s Church
The Catechumenate in Brief:
The catechumenate — a process of faith formation and discipleship that began in the early centuries of the Christian Church — was reclaimed in the twentieth century, by the Roman Catholic Church in the development of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). Since the 1980’s non-Catholic Christian churches have moved toward the catechumenate as a process of faith formation and spiritual development for twenty-first century people who have little or no previous connection with Christian faith.
The catechumenate focuses on the development of four primary faith practices: corporate worship, the study of Scripture, prayer, and baptismal living. It is an apprenticeship in faith for those on a spiritual quest that is:
- process-oriented rather than program-oriented,
- lay-led rather than clergy-dominated,
- formation in Christ rather than information about Christ.
The catechumenate is also being adapted in congregations for renewal in the processes of the baptism of infants and children, in confirmation ministry, and in the affirmation of baptism or the reaffirmation of the baptismal covenant by the already baptized.