Being baptized into Christ is not like graduation. It is not the end of a process. In many ways it is more like marriage, since it is the beginning of a lifelong process that only gradually unfolds. Exploring the existential meaning of the professed baptismal covenant may be seen as like those moments in a marriage when you both want to do some serious work on your relationship.
The seven weeks between Easter and Pentecost are a crucial component in the catechumenal process. It is the period in which the catechumenal team and the whole community continue to walk with the participants as they try both to figure out what this momentous event of Baptism or Reaffirmation means and to discern more deeply its implications in their daily lives.
One of JBL’s interdenominational groups has developed “Ecumenical Rites for the Adult Catechumenate.” The last 44 pages focus on “mystagogy,” a Greek name that means “unfolding the mysteries.” This resource is available on the Journey to Baptism website. The section on mystagogy provides a description of an integrated catechetical and liturgical process for this unfolding.
The section begins with two sessions built around reliving the moments of the awesome rites of Easter and then moves towards pondering the future for the newly baptized and those who reaffirmed their baptisms. There are suggestions on how to help them discern what vocations exist in their lives and what gifts God has given them to carry out those callings. There are also suggestions about how they might bear witness during Sunday worship — how the Spirit’s grace has been at work within them; how they might be blessed in their challenge of discernment. All of this can lead up to the Affirmation of Vocation on Pentecost. Much has been written on this period of the catechumenate, including some material on the discernment process. The suggestions in the “Ecumenical Rites for the Adult Catechumenate” are new and very practical.
If you can’t do it all this year, look and see how you might help new and reaffirmed Christians continue, like the disciples at Emmaus, to experience a new relationship with Jesus in Word and Sacrament.
Go to journeytobaptism.org, click on Resources, then scroll down and click Worship Resources, then click on Adult Rites for the Catechumenate. In the table of contents, you will find a whole section entitled Mystagogy. While you’re at it, take time to peruse the entire Leader’s Guide, but this is the moment to prepare for the seven weeks of Easter!