I always think the Scrutinies catch up on us unexpectedly.

 There they are tucked away in the Period of  Purification And Enlightenment – quite a big section, but somehow they still manage to catch us out. This is where RCIA catechists need  a good rapport with Father:

  • Dust off his edition of the Rite, tag the pages and talk it through;
  • which Sunday mass will it be? Which texts will be used. It is easy in Year A, but are you going to repeat all the Year A readings in Year B, or just the Gospel?
  • Is Father going to rely on his homily and introduction to catechise the Assembly about the rite, or is there support and back up in the newsletter, notice board, photos of the elect, an outline of the RCIA process?

Catechists will already have discussed with the elect and candidates the different rites they will be experiencing during this period: necessary if you combine the already baptised and the not yet baptised in RCIA sessions, but the distinction isn’t always apparent to the community. If you have prepared your community and candidates  then why not for this period have assigned seats for the two groups, where they can sit distinct yet apart. If you start a little way back, you can move them to the front at the Vigil and then for the Easter season.

  • This is probably the one rite where having  just one elect, works well.There can be a tendency when there is a group to want to continue with ‘catechesis’, whereas this is the time for                                                                                                                                                         ‘ more intense spiritual preparation, consisting more in interior reflection than in                                                           catechetical instruction…’RCIA 126.

Having the scrutinies for 3 sunday masses means you can  read the rite in between, reflect and re-evaluate and if necessary amend your practice. It is so new to the assembly that they won’t notice, but when the scrutinies work well it is an opportunity to explain more about RCIA and to interest potential new helpers.

How to evaluate? Well what seemed difficult and a bit alien to the 21st century culture, will over the 3 weeks take seed in the heart of the elect as they look anew at their lives, uncovering what is weak, defective or sinful and become strong in their desire to follow Christ in the way he taught.

  • The journey is one of progression through the Scrutinies.
  • Choose carefully whether to use A or B [RCIA154-155]. This is when catechists need to pray for discernment, to know which is more appropriate for Father to pray over this particular elect.
  • Consider  implementing the full rite with Dismissal [RCIA 156], or perhaps for the 3 rd Scrutiny and then until the Easter Vigil.

The weeks fly past and before you know it, you will be approaching Holy Week, with all the promise of Easter.